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Full text of "Christopher [microform]"

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Canadian Inttituta for Hittorical Mieroraproductions / Inttttut Canadian da mieroraproduction* liittarlquaa 




1995 



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CHRISTOPHER 



CHRISTOPHER 



By 
RICHARD PRYCE 

Author of 

"The Succcuor," •'JcKbel/' "Blementiry Jine," 

"The Burden of t Womin," etc. ' 



"There ire open houri 
When the God'i will Mlliei free. . . ." 
Emenom. 



. 



TORONTO 

McClelland & goodchild 

LIMITED 



PHo^c3\ 
Hi I 



PrinuJ in Great Britain 



I 



TO THE MEMORY OF 
MY MOTHER 



THE FIRST BOOK OF 
CHRISTOPHER 



CHRISTOPHER 



BOOK THE FIRST 

CHAPTER I 

W^pel^'^tl?'''' ^^l^x'"' nothing particular h^p. 
that hi»^^!f" -^^ "^y ''^^^ ^•^'^- that is doubtfuT 

nmseu somewhat unceremoniously. He was exnected in 
J^d^nt^er^'^'"*'"** '°' ^ comforSbK^tion 

Ebu^S^rTn^"" '" «'r'"^^*' P***P« inevitable. 
»* ,^ :.' ^°*=*°'' *'*'^«l' a crinolined nuise preoared 

tater^C°duti^%*r'*"^ ^' "''' ^*-* or^n?^ 
mmif^Zf. ♦T'^- ^"^ *° unaccountable UtUe boy he 

^ern/C^^'Li^r- 1^!^ had never been 
world tb^t'sJu rlUZ.^" *°'''^' " ^"^ » ^^^ 
Igold on the^a for 1 * V* ™°°" ^°^ lovers-a path of 

qmsite fancv to ^^ »^ ^''^' ^"""^"^ together in ex- 
m^«l wL ^^eolden aty whither it led. Lovers- 
.marned lovers mayb<s-«hould have stood side by dde^ 



CHRISTOPHER 



pathy ? Understanding ? Christopher's mother needed all 
three. I think myself that she called him. 

He was what his mother's maid. Trimmer, pressed by un- 
toward circumstance into all sorts of duties which were to 
have fallen to the lot of the crinolined lady waiting in London 
— ^he was what Trimmer called a " posthamious " child. The 
word pleased and encouraged her. She spoke it frequently 
and with unction, dwelling lingeringly, for euphonious 
reasons, upon the syllable immediately before that with 
which she had embellished it. Only less important than 
Christopher himself was Trimmer that night. Trimmer, 
indeed, leapt to the occasion after the first few moments of 
natural dismay ; and, discovering unsuspected deeps of 
motherly knowledge, held Christopher in such a way as 
satisfied not only the ship's doctor, but the stewardess, many 
times a mother herself, and even the Anglo-Indian ladies 
whose " experience " entitled them to emphatic if kindly 
opinions. 

" A valuable life," said Trimmer, manipulating flannels in 
workman-like manner ; " a more than usiially valuable life — 
being posthumious." 

The Anglo-Indian ladies, from whom in her weeds and 
her sorrow Christopher's mother had kept somewhat apart 
on the voyage, nodded sympat'ietically. Yes, indeed. Poor 
}roung thing. It was terribly sad. With the stewardess they 
pronounced Christopher a Beautiful baby — a statement 
which, as everybody knows (everybody at least who has ever 
seen the new-bom young of man), can only have been rela- 
tively true. 

Trimmer, however, said proudly that he had every right 
to be. They should have seen his father. There was a 
beautiful gentleman— cut oft, too, in his prim^ you might 
say, of life. It was 'eart-breaking. And look at her poor 
mistress, his widow. There were looks foi you. It would 
ave been surprising if the hero of the moment had not 
inherited his share of good looks. 

Thus it was that Christopher entered the world. Of his 
arrival upon the agitated scene he has nati'-ally no know- 
ledge at first hand. Salt airs were the early breath of his 



CHRISTOPHER 









attle nostrils salt airs with which were mingled aU the subtle 
fragrances of tte ship : scents of tar and ropeld oU «d 
wood, of metals even, with many fainter odo^. ^e l^t 
of the eng-nes was in his unrecording ears, with cr«linS 
bampmgs, flappings, and the pulsing msh of W^« ST' 
bending over him in adoration, told him a do»ntim«Td^v 
that he wi^Rocked in the Cradle of the Dee* ffis mo£ 
^."^^'P^ •* to him with a pleased smile, but when S' 
mer's "That's ast what I say 'm " told her tLf t • 
had been too quick for her. she'f";„S a Kor^T^" 
heard to say .t again. She gave it freely to Tri^er!!^^! 

toiX":^'."^^* ^^''^ ">« -p««- oTir;'.m7S. 

" Rocked," sang Trimmer, in a high soprano-" rocked in 

Sabf ^' *'sh"P'"-,!S"' "^'^ in'tC^ad^rSl r 
capable aims^ She smiled to him nodding, and at hersdf 
J^ her head. To think, she said rherS th^^ 
Miss Trimmer, rf you please, should have come o^v to 

SS^2^°;r*4t''-^**^ ""^ expen^ve'S L 
rh^.fiT^' °? She knew instinctively the change which 

mS:nr:hi„''.no"^i'?^ j jj f- ^r ^^ 

«TTh "^^ "'^"y^ ^'^^''^^l hersdf Witt Sect Jn Sat 
If she did change her vocation and calling ^Sf Inni t! 
do come what might, at least she h=TZf ' ^* "^^en^ed to 
become the mS ofal^!]*^, w^^^ ^ °'^^« *° 

J?^rth"heKr?S!rSp^2!2T=^j;.i 



CHRISTOPHER 



—which hung one over each shoulder, was indeed only too 
glad. The doctor's admiration of Trimmer had been un- 
bounded from the first. Her resource, her presence of mind, 
her surprising efficiency I 

" What do you want with nurses ? " he said. " The 
woman's a bom nurse. I never was more amazed. Her 

chignon " 

" Isn't it wonderful ? " said Christopher's mother. " It's 
all on her head too — even the plait across the top — which," 
she added doubtfully, after a moment's pause — " which, I 
suppose, I oughtn't to allow her to wear." 
" It hardly prepared me." 

" She's a genius," said Mis. Merrick. " I should never 
persuade her." 

" Talk to her. Tell her I know someone whom I can 
thoroughly recommend." 
" Do you ? " 

" Oh, there's always someone to be found I She won't like 
the thought of parting with the yoiug gentleman." 
" III sound her," said Chris'-opher's mother. 
But when it came to the point it was Trimmer who 
" sounded " Christopher's mother. 

" I'm sure I hope it won't hurt him," said Trimmer sud- 
denly, out of a silence. She was at work in Mrs. Herrick's 
cabin, altering something of her mistress's — " altering back " 
(to be explicit) in her own significant phrase. Her needle 
flew to and fro through black materials, and her ornate head 
bobbed with the movements of her deft fingers. 

Mrs. Eerrick, who was occupied with htr own thoughts, 
watchfd her for some moments without speaking. She was 
considering, indeed, how best to approach the perplexing 
subject. Hie masterly composition of Trimmer's handsome 
chignon to which the doctor had alluded, to say nothing of 
the exquisite and becoming precision of her own two plaits, 
the reflection of which she contemplated from time to time 
in a looking-glass so placed that she could see herself, as for 
the first time she sat up, propped and stayed by many pillows, 
arrested again aiid again the words hesitating on her lips. 
) think that Trimmer would ccmsent — 



CHRISTOPHER 



capable, thoughtful Trimmer, who had thought even of the 
tookjng-glass. I^posten,usl She should haveTnSsl 
maid, of course-French or German, as the case mkht^^ 

;rS:^?hlT*'' '*''^^"'=***°"^« "^^^^^ 
to oe expwted that Tnmmer with her gifts and aualifica 

tons would ever listen. She was a Suj^rior Tad?'SS 

Udy s Maid was written all over her 

ril."'* "^1.*° "P*"" *''*" te-npera." said Trimmer. She bent 
closer over her sewing and bit a thread 3™ oent 

'What spoils whose tempers? " said Mrs. Herrick 
Tnmmer re-threaded her needle before aasweSiT She 
always sewed wittout making a knot at the end Scottol 
The swond stitch secured the first. Mrs. Herrick who on 
pain of makmg half a dozen such stitches fS* wlis h^ 
non?^','' ''T' •«>''«» °» interested, thoughts hS^ 

Zhl%'rth.W^^ "'''*"■ •''^- Th^rewasso^S 
soothmg m the rhythmic passage of the thread. PresenUv 

S S Te d^ •'""f 1° speak-screw he J^°*^^ 
we pomt. The doctor said she was to do nothing but rest 
She wasn t exacUy tiled now that she was up. It wm ^ 
pleasant to lean back amongst her pillows aid lisU^o S^ 

tie nSTe t'^rf Tw "^ *''" *° '^^ ^'*^ *« P««t^ 

frJm^^^lo'anSer^^™"" *°^y- " «-<^ them on 
^^ Mrs. Herrick heard the words when they were some moments 

iwhln^*?^?" '^*'" •* "OSS to him too. You never can teU 
when they're out of sight. I once saw a nw^ IXTrh^H 

'«ght to have numbers like cabmen. If she'd ha,i one^ 



6 CHRISTOPHER 

have taken it, I know. A* it was, all I ooold do was to give 
her A look. A look, I admit 'm, I did give her. I've often 
wondered since whether the poor child died of convulsions." 

" Trimmer, don't," implored Mrs. Herrick. 

" It'd be bound to tell in the long run— tell upon the poor 
long-suffering child, I mean. II couldn't tell. And a lady 
where I lived once " 

" If it's anything dreadful don't teU me." 

" It was only a whipping she saw 'm — also in Kensington 
Gardens. A very favourite place for such things. SA< followed 
the nuise home and reported her, but, would you believe 'm, 
got no thanks for her trouble. It passes compre'ension." 

In those days even ladies' maids dropped an occasional H. 

" You see, you never could be quite quite sure, could you ? 
Of course " — Trimmer shook up the work in her lap and 
looked for her scissors — " of coiurse, I hope you'd be fortimate 
and find someone you really felt you could trust. But I can 
quite understand how anxious it'll make you." 

" I he awake at night thinking of it," said Christopher's 
mother. She looked at Trimmer, wondering whereto all this 
might tend. She coukln't be going to propose that she. 
Trimmer ... 1 

" I was thinking 'm how would it be if I " 

" You I " said Mrs. Herrick. 

" For— for a bit, you know 'm. Just till we could see how 
we got along." 

" But could you " began Mrs. Herrick, and did not 

mean to question Trimmer's ability, but her willingness. 
A deprecating, " Could you bring yourself to think of such a 
thing ? " would more aptly have expressed her thought. 

Trimmer prepared to bristle. "Considering the emer- 
gency," she said, " we haven't done so badly." 

" Oh, Trimmer," said Mrs. Herrick, " you've done beauti- 
fully. I don't know what I should have done without you." 

" Of course, I know," said Trimmer, " that the ladies have 
probably been looking for somebody for you in London." 

" They won't engage anyone till I've seen her. Trimmer, 
cenM you ? " said Mrs. Herrick again. This time she meant 
" Would you ? " 



CHRISTOPHER 7 

" I'm one of a laijie family," said Trimmer, mollified but 
ttin misunderstanding. " It isn't as if I hadn't had to do 
with babies before this. There was always a baby of some 
sort at home." 

" I don't mean that," cried Mrs. Herrick. " I mear —yon 
... my maid, you know." 

" Oh," said Trimmer, " I could easily make time to do the 
little I do for you. There isn't so very much — except, of 
course, your hair— for you're not like some ladies who won't 
so much as lift a hand to help their petticoats over their 
heads 'm. Why, as it is, you put on your own stockings 'm, 
which indeed is not right. I've often and often asked myself, 
' What am I here for ? '—it's not right 'm, it's not indeed," 
Trimmer shook her head. " So I'm sure we could manage. 
And when I think of his going from me to a stranger, and 
perhaps being shaken in Kensington Gardens " 

"Oh, Trimmer, wwM you. . . ." said Christopher's 
mother. 

Thus Trimmer reached the parting of the ways and chose 
the lower path, which was yet, maybe, the higher, for Chris- 
topher. And thus to the making of Christopher wad contri- 
buted Trimmer with all that Trimmer represented. Was he 
grateful for the sacrifice ? He knew no more of it than of the 
salt airs in his little nostrils, the sounds of the ship and the 
sea in his little ears, or the giant cradle itself in which he was 
said to be rocked. Many things that he knew not of went, 
however, to his making. 



CHAPTER II 

BUT preaently everything made for wonder. 
Long before that, of course, there came the day— he 
was in Ebury Street then— when he was seen, and was said, 
to take " notice." The saying may or may not have come 
before the seeing. Seraphic smiles thenceforward broke over 
his little face, for the magical appearing of which all sorts of 
causes were assigned by those who observed them. Everybody 
at such -noments knew quite well, it seemed, what Christopher 
was thinking. He was thinking that he would like your 
watch (to put into his mouth, it was probable !), or the 
lamp— for the same purpose, perhap»— or the handle of your 
umbrella. Or it was because he knew you quite well— or his 
guardian angel had touched him ever so lightly with the tip 
of a sheltering wing. Trimmer, causes and reasons apart, 
laid that she, bless you, couM always make him smile. His 
mother said she could. His aunts said No, they could. It 
became plain in time that almost anyone could, for he was a 
healthy and so a happy little boy ; but there were rivalries 
notwithstanding. None of these things mattered to Christo- 
pher. He " took notice,' it is true, but he didn't know that 
he did till many, many months were past. Then things and 
people began to sort themselves out for him. Very early 
recollections in after years were of the crepe upon his mother's 
dresses, of the hard beads on the bosom of a certain dress of 
Trimmer's, which even made a visible impression upon his 
little flushed cheeks when he went to sleep againsL them; 
and notably, though considerably later, it is to be hoped, in 
the interests of liis little digestion, of the smell of his first 
dried fig — the smell of the whole box, rather, from which it was 
taken. The figs helped to scent the cupboard where they 
were kept. Othei wonderful tilings were kept there too. 



CHRISTOPHER , 

«Mh with it* own myiterioui f«granee-«ieh u candlet 
»o«p. rogar. tea in a canister with picture* of Chlnameu in' 
pig-taJ» upon it, jams in UbeUed pots, coffee-berrie.. spices • 
but whether or not the pleasant smell of the figs was dominant 
in the medley of agreeable essences which made up the 
atmosphwe of the delectable cupboard, certain it is that the 
smell of figs thenceforward had the power of lecalUng aU the 
rest to him. This cupboerd was known as the Store-room at 
Granny Oxtter's. and Granny Oxeter was known as Granny 
Oxeter to distinguish her from Christopher's other grand- 
mother, Grandmamma Herrick— with whom it would yet 
have been impossible to confuse her, so abidingly senante 
were thoe two good ladies the one from the other. &^en 
Christopher, an intrepid Uttle boy in his early years, wouM 
not have dared to caU his paternal grandraothir Granny, 
^ere .as Granny Oxeter, but there was Grandmamma 
nemcK. 

•'Which is most my grandnother ? " was a question put by 
Christ<yher much later on-when, in fact, he was about five 
years old. 

■' Darling, they're both your grandmothers. What a lucky 
little boy to have two I " ' 

" But which iimost?- persisted Christopher. " I think 
Cranny Oxeter is." ^^ 

"So do I," said Christopher's mother— though she went 
)ack on this ahnost as soon as it was spoken. God forbid 
Jiat she should put her own mother before the boy's father's, 
uie had a tender conscience. 

T-.e scent of the first fig, then, at Granny Oxeter's took its 
mportant place amongst Christopher's young impressions, 
n after yeare he did not always trace fleeting sensations to 
heir source, but, if he had been able to do so, he would have 
9und that at a certain dinner-party some thirty years later, 
he sudden interposition between him and his partner of a pai^ 
f long ear-nngs. such as it had been his grandmothers 
abit to wear was directly attributable to the presence of a 
r ° ^ £'*** i?*^ '"">'* *^ forming itself with his body. 
,tZ^ ? reaUy separate things ? As he went through 
le process of a growwg which marked itself outwardly in tte 



lo CHRISTOPHER 

outspanning and casting of yonng clothes, he was storing 
impressions as a bee stores honey. 

The nurseiy as well as the store-room cupboard contributed 
its quota. Everything contributed ; night as well as day. 
There were misty early things of which one was the leaning 
over his cot of unfamiliar faces— which turned, upon solemn 
consideration, into the loving faces he knew best : his mother's, 
Trimmer's, one and another of the servants', his adoring Aunt 
Laura's or Aunt Catherine's. Or slumber compact of pleasant 
dreams would hold him, flushing his Httle cheeks for those 
who saw— when, on an instant, what ? The falling of some- 
thing in the nursery, or of a star from heaven to crush him, 
and for a moment or an eternity, terrors vmspeakable, things 
grown monstrous confronting him, weights insupportable 
holding him down, distances immeasurable between him 
and succour. Help for him ! Oh, help, mercy, pity for a 
little lost boy ! — not these words, of course, nor any words ; 
an inarticulate cry, the cry in the night. Then, for him, the 
hurried bobbing of an approaching light from the day nursery 
where Trimmer sat reading or working, and, as often as not, 
his mother or even one of his aunts. 

" What is it, my darling ? " 

lears— he hhnself was conscious of them— on the flushed 
cheeks. 

" What's the matter, my little boy ? Tell Mother " 

or Trimmer or Aunt Laura, as the case might b* " Did 
something frighten you ? What was it ? " 

Blinking frightened eyes, for those who saw, and a puckered 
forehead. For himself, bewilderment, effort, albeit with 
comfort. 

" I— thought " 

Strain unimaginable to express what he had thought ! 

"What, my precious? Can't you teU me? There, 
it's all right, my little boy. Don't try if it bother 
you." 

But he had to try, while Mother or Trimmer or Aunt Lama 
essayed to follow. 

" Yes. Oh, enormous was it ? As big as— as the house ? 
Bigger than the house ? As the church ? Like a great big 



CHRISTOPHER ,, 

"*?f i ^^ T^^- '1'^** "^"- *°d dreadfuUy far too ? How 
could that be ? What is it, my darling ? " 

Mother or Trimmer or Aunt Laura had not understood 
It was quite, qmte near-" like when you put your nos^i 
mZ '.T^^^f^u •" <C^J^t°Pher's -grammar/' ..ot Z 
motha s ! ), -and look mto their eyes "-and it was far ofi too. 
And It was bigger than the church-bigger than anythinE 
Christopher had ever seen, only he couldn't think of anythini 
bigger than the church-and heavier than the world ot 
Granny Oxeter's great big Bible, which only Granny Oxeter's 

JoSLT't**' e°'^''"«°- -"Id lift' Wh/3dn' 
Mother or Trimmer or Aunt Laura understand ? 

But look, said the comforting voice, it was quite gone now 
whatever it was He was safe in his cot with the b^ra^^) 

H£f*'!,T^*i^P''*"'*^°**^'"'^«''«"*^d Little Red Riding 
^n^ J Th^e .Bears. And loving arms were round 
hmi, and the rea)llection of his terrors fading and his gulpmg 
sobs ceasing. Mother (it was his mother on one pa^ic2? 
occasion which stood out somehow from the rest, and not 
Trnnmer, who was perhaps at her supper when her mistress 
had stolen up to see him, nor his Amit Laura, who for the 
same purpose was always sUpping away from the room 
dowMtairs, which was known as the Droing-room)-Mother 
would stay with him till he was asleep aga^ Yes ptS ! 
I^t''7m?'^l'^^P- AndshewoiUdsingtohr^ 
fhTn ■■ r }t ? "^^t"" *^ ^- " *^ a PJ-etty sight," and 

Iten if^ ^^1 '^^ ^y ^"'=^*^'-" Yes; the whole ot it- 
even If he was asleep before the last verse 

and forct^ f^ftly-^nging. as it were, 'under its breath, 
and for Chnstopher alone— was heard then in the nieht 

lapped him round hke tmy waves of the sea. 

liT^li'^'^Vf^^"^- Christopher felt the hand removed 
I irom his head for a moment. «"uvcu 

" Mummy ? " 

" Yes, darling." 



la CHRISTOPHER 

" I'm not asleep— quite." 

The hand went back. It held something then which had 
been fumbled for without any actual break in the singing. 
Christopher, with eyes tight closed, wondered why. But the 
handkerchief seemed like part of the hand, and he felt quite 
safe and sighed contentedly. 

" ' And so it is Lady Ancebet, 
But I must needs be going.'" 

The voice, threading the verses on a slender string of 
melody, grew further and further off. Christopher heard about 
the milk-white steed, and " Adown, adown, adown, adown," 
and was conscious of the approach of the line which to Mrs. 
Herrick always seemed to have too many feet. At " a branch 
of sweetbriar," he tried, with a vague intention of announcing 
that he was still awake, to say Mummy once more, but the 
word would not come, and the last verse of all mingled itself 
with new and happy dreams : 

" They grew till they grew to the top of the church. 
And when they could grow no higher 
They grew into a true lover's knot, 
And so they were joined together." 

The singer's head sank on to the brass rail of the cot, and 
if Christopher had not then been far away in the land of 
happy dreams, he must have added another impression to his 
store. 

Homing and the terrors of the night forgotten. The sun 
would pour in through chinks at the nursery window. A 
host of impressions then, a mind active beyond control. 
Might he get up now ? He was to be good and go to sleep 
again. Now might he get up ? Well, now might he ? 

" No, Master Christopher. Not yet, there's a dear. Your 
mamma won't be ready for you for hours." Such a drowsy 
voice Trimmer's in the morning ! " Hours and hours. Try 
to sleep a Uttle longer." 

Christopher would try— or rather he would not try, but 
would lie still looking at the pattern on the wall-paper. There 



CHRISTOPHER 



13 



were stiff flowers upon it and, at regular intervals, a bird 
flying after a butterfly. Christopher wondered if the butterfly 
was ever caught. It was always at exactly the same distance 
from the bird— except in one place, where a join in the paper 
brought sue butterflies quite near to six birds. But even here 
not one butterfly was caught. 

It was often " quite light " in the morning when Christopher 
woke, because— in what were known as furnished houses- 
curtains did not always fit the windo»/s exactly, but left 
gaps at each side thrc gh which the sun streamed in wonderful 
beams in which floated all sorts of things. Christopher could 
not see the marvellous dance of the motes from his little bed, 
but he had seen it and he knew exactly what it was like-^ 
how they turned and twisted and became sUver or gold for a 
moment as the light struck them, or blue or red or green, and 
how they chased each other or got out of each other's way, or 
rose or fell, and how, if you watched one as you watch a 
snowflake, it was certain to roU out of the sunbeam altogether 
and disappear. 

When would Trimmer let him get up? Out of doors 
everything was awake. There were always nice noises to be 
heard in the morning. The people next door kept poultry, 
and one or another of the hens was generally clucking. That 
meant that she had laid an egg for somebody's breakfast, 
^he clucked so much sometimes that Christopher was quite 
iure she must have laid two— perhaps more. Perhaps he 
would have an ^g for his breakfast himself. He had a whole 
!gg now, and either dipped long strips of bread-and-butter 
nto It, or had it broken up into a cup, which was equally 
«^ehcious. He could remember the time when, at giown-up 
ireakfast at Granny Oxeter's, he used to be given the top of 
me for a treat. 
" Can I have the top of your egg, Granny Oxeter ? " 

Darling, ssh ! " from his mother to him, and, to his 
randmother, " You mustn't let him bother you." 
Granny Oxeter always let him bother her— only she said he 
idn t bother her. She was certainly, as he came to think 
»ore his grandmother than Grandmamma Herrick, who even 
^"-hen he was quite good (and hardly fidgeting at all)' used 



14 



CHRISTOPHER 



somehow — ^by looking in his direction over her spectacles, 
it is probable — to let it be felt that he did. 

" Christopher," Grandmamma Herrick would say, " would 
you like a penny ? " 

" Yes, please." 

" Then see if you can keep perfectly still for five minutes. 
Without opening your lips, remember. Without moving 
your little finger." 

Well, you had to find out when the five minutes were up. 
That was why you had to say, " Now is it five ? " and " Now 
is it ?" at intervals. Would it ever be ? And when at last it 
really was time and you were near to bursting point from 
holding your breath perhaps in the frenzied effort of keeping 
still, you were told you had spoken. 

Oh, not really spoken, only asked ! 

And you had moved. 

"But not my little finger. Only "—you were near to 
protestant tears then—" only my foot." 

A desperately hardly earned penny you see when you got 
it ; so that once, greatly daring, in answer to his grand- 
mother's question Christopher said boldly, " Not — not if 
I've got to earn it, please"— and most surprisingly got 
sixpence ! His first lesson in the efficacy of grasping your 
nettle. 

Granny Oxeter's pennies, on the other hand, never had to be 
worked for. They were new, moreover ( " gold ! " ), and 
just given to you for nothing. They came from a little 
knitted bag shaped like a jug, which lived in a drawer in a 
writing-table in Granny Oxeter's room. An enchanting 
ceremony the unearthing of the penny ! First Granny 
Oxeter's keys had to be found, and they lived in a little 
basket which held letters and string. Then one particular 
bunch had to be chosen out of several to the accompaniment 
of a jingling that was music to excited young ears. Not that 
one, nor that, nor that. This — stay, no, those were the keys 
of her wardrobe. Here we were. Here we were at last. 
Then one particular key on that particular bunch. Christo- 
phe 's excitement could scarcely contain itself while the key 
was bemg fitted to the lock. Click ! Then the wonderful 



CHRISTOPHER 



»5 



thing of all : the rolling up of the top of the desk which, 

disappearing as it did, seemed to be swallowed by the desk 
I itself. This part of the proceedings had always to be repeated 

for Christopher's benefit. 
"Let me. Granny Oxeter," and Granny Oxeter always 

' let " Christopher. 
Then the opening of the little drawer, which fitted so closely 
I that when you closed it, it sent out a little puff of wind. Then 
I the knitted jug. Then in your eager little hands the gold 
■penny. Christopher could remember the day when he was 
tasked ^viiich he would rather have, a shilling or the penny, 
land chose the penny for its size and its shining. Never were 
|such pennies as came from the knitted jug at Granny Oxeter's. 
I Impressions I Impressions! Each one indelible and fitting 
Bnto its place, there to lie till this or that should call for it 
■ind turn it into a memory or memories. Christopher's mind 

was itself a desk and a store-room. 

There were wonderful walks. There were shoppings, 
fhere were people called visitors to whom, in very early days, 
lie was told to give his right hand. At Cheltenham, where 
TJranny Oxeter lived, and the first few years of his life were 
(pent, some of these people came in Bath chairs. There was 
^ ritual for Bath chairs. The Bath chairman drew the chair 
) to the doorstep, and then turned the " handle " round to 
■event the chaii from running away. After doing this and 
i»iving directions, he rang the bell. While he was waiting 
r the door to be opened, the visitor gave him more directions. 
I the answer was " Not at home," an eager or a disappointed 
lird-case came into requisition; and then the chairman, 
Rving turned the " handle " round again and walked back- 
^rds for a few steps, would resume his naturi position and 
raw the Bath chair out of sight. If, on the other hand, 
hnstopher's mother was at home and the visitor " got in," 
be Bath chairman, when the door had closed behind his 
■nployer, drew a pipe from his pocket and seated himself on 
« floor " of the chair, there to await her return. 
^ The ritual was always the same. Christopher, an interested 
J"*'-! boy, would watch aU this when he could from behind 



i6 



CHRISTOPHER 



the curtains of the dining-room window, or any other coign of 
vantage. 

He would be sent for or not, as the cose might be, to give 
his right hand and submit perhaps to being kissed, which he 
hated. The soft warm smell of sealskin was intimately 
associated with visitors. 

life was absorbing. Everything that caught Christopher's 
attention held it. 

" Come along, Master Christopher," Trimmer would say a 
dozen times in the course of any walk. 

But Christopher had to see more of whatever it was that 
enchained him— the house-painter plying his flat brush, or the 
chaiis-to-mend man interlacing his strips of split cane to a 
familiar pattern, or the knife-grinder striking sparks from his 
wheel. Everything made for wonder. Like the Bath chair- 
man, Christopher often walked backwards. 



CHAPTER III 

)IUESENTLY the Kene shifted from Cheltenham, from 
EnglMd even, and at Boulogne, where things were vet 
nore wonderful though there were still Bath chairs Ld 

Bath chaumen, house-painters and knife-grinders. Christopher 
iomd himself stonng French impressions for the English 
The cucumstanoes which led to the change were not at the 
ime very dear to him. They were associated in his mind 
nth a paiod of red eyes in the family. From the moniing 

fcTl °^^^ ^^V **"* ^ Aunt Uura with white lips. 
I pocket-handkerchief , and an open letter, to blanch the faa 
tf his mother, everybody for a time had a tendency to tears 
leople wept more readily in those days, Christopher came to 
■unit— jumped to dire condnsions, imagined the worst 
Brmitted if indeed they did not encourage scenes. Granny 
Ixeter, however, so mudi he gathered before he was sent out 
IT the room was " ruined," whatever that might mean It 

t^nnL*^ ^ ^ T^^- '^^°- '^ *« «^Ped her hands, 
t^^.^J^'"^' S^«« from whidi (at " The Cat Ate 
b ^ L WM teaching him to read, " pointing " as she 
Ki i""* 11'«*„'^tti^-needles. The needte traveUed 
\^y along the line as Christopher read or palpably 



I" You're guessing, Christopher." 

r No, I'm not." 

1., ^?° ***** ""^^ befon D ? " 

I '■ Wrong." 

I" M — ^for mouse." 

I" You're not attending." 

ItSu^*"™"!^ *^ ""^^^ ^"^ '"^y '*^'^ the order 
^ the letters onc^just reversed them, to the effect of making 



i8 



CHRISTOPHER 



the Rat eat the Cat, which his mother, with her ram hut nn* 
mfrequejit lau«h wa. in the act of poil^Co^tX i^*^ 

" Lai^a^,^. . .^ ^ "'"*^'^' *^*^ «> »he saw her. 

w'^l^P^-J^^'^'^^'^-^^P'^- Mr.Grindle. 
"'6 f* Foor Manuna's ruined I " 

His mother's cry, together with the faU of the Mavor sent 

A«t I "^'^ (somehow to hfa satisfaction) that Us 

h^ ^T ' '•''* ^'^ •J'^*" "» »»• *We and thai she had 

iTup ftidTlita^?^ '"='*'* "P " wrong '^Lwhofe 
7hZ ^' A . '^ '^**'* ^y *^*» »t * "isis. he pointed these 

""^^^ r^s^ ?or ""^ ^ -'"'-^-^"^ ^ 

Movrawhae. Its been gomg on for years, it seems. They 
—What a scoundrel! Poor Mamma. Oh!" ShebrolccJ 
^ Omstopher dear ! I oughtn't-I-my dear. I di^'t t 

She looked significantly at her sister and applied hereelf 
to her pocket-handkerchief. ^ 

"Run away darling," said Christopher's mother. 

Christopher began to beg to be allowed to stay. He would 
be qmte quiet-not any trouble. He did want to h,^ so 

Z^J ° "«• ^"^ ""^ '^ *hy he had bolted B^l^ 
mother was firm, and, howsoever reluctantly, he had to ^ 

tZS:i:z:^ "^f '"^-^* "* ''«"*^ sugSon. te 

o Mv^v q ^ * ^ "f^ '^^^^ °* ^J'** h«h«l heard 

to anybody. So he couldn't even teU Trimmer. Impossible 

with a whirling brain to keep absolute silent H^S a? 

least to ask what the word meant 

" SnL??^ '* mean Trimmer, when someone is ruined ? " 

••m^ ^dTnmmer. " How do you mean ? " 

When somebody's ruined," said Christopher again How 

ir^^is^r ""'^^ "^ g-dmoSier!'^.. WhS! 

"Ruinedl" ... * 



CHRISTOPHER 



Triamer straightened her back. 

" Good gradons, Master Christopher I I can't thinlt where 
you hear such words." ^^^ "*" 

That was the beginning of the time of red eyes There was. 
a commg and a going between the two hon^ iKZ 

EeS^fi^r^r -^^--no tasSd"L"^ 

tT^ ^ ? fast. Things were as bad as they could be 

m«e were family discussions, from *hich. to his «U«,a?' 

IChnstopher was rigorously excluded. He managed tS 

la word here and there all the same. However^f^ a,^ 

were to send him out of the room, he hearJs^meSJ Z 

rSp^;rr P^-'^aLittlePitchSSom^e! 
lone <aJled Poor Mr. Aggot was doing all in his power to save 
Ithe ship What ship ? Poor Mr. Aigot, as we may ir^ if 
IChTjstoph^ couldn't, was the ahlLn^ng Mn gS? 

kfT)^;y?ad'*B^C'' '^ '^- ""' *° ^- '^^ '* ^"" 
I "What's brunt ? " asked Christopher, half expectine flialf 
Ihojjng even) to hear that it too ca4 ui^der tl^^l?^'^ iiS 

It ItT; I^T' ^"1^°^ it°8 ^' ^ ^°^«> oi what 
lLI ~!! ^ happened. She contributed willinKlv her 

te J^^''*' '' "^'y-^^ «l»«ity evenTK'^He^ 

fhf ve^r/^ T"'^*^ *" *^°* °^ her mother, and in 

poL?sSit~^^ '"■ ^°"'" ^' '-" « " -- to «me 
"?wol!Jr?.'"'*,!."-r*^'* Christopher's mother. 

• ni :S'" """ "^^^ '*^'^'"« •'y^' "^'«- 

k mJre in tteT.T' f.*"^ *" *" ^''t- » '^""^t^i to 
K o tf,/i!" u**" ^^ giving up on the part of Gramjy 

iiosen. Thither Mis. Hemck foUowed her mother and sfat^ 



■0 CHRISTOPHER 

wtii a negative, took it* place amonnt hooiehold wordrta 
tte vocabalarie, of ti>e two lamllle.^ QiSSw S „5 

vSt^matSL^"^JL k"- ^"^-IW-ot matter. 
N«? .J.M. ^ T *5 «>«*«ntment of the new life. 
New dghts^new sounds, aud the sea I Values relatively fu 

aTcXw'" "^ •"^^-"^ «*-«- O^PS- 

h.p,«,ed evenrthlng there wa=^mo« than w^^^^ZtSS 
of m his own or anyone else's " philosophy." Earth «^ 

with good and evil too, various kinds of food, wholesome and 

^'''"'^•'' * «^* '^^ "* P>««'««. and sc^metSSTis to 
be supposed, of pain. Undedpherable many of thT;riK 
upon the page so latdy blank-crossed and recrossedS 
Aimt Laura's economical letters to England 

deS^S ^^VT.""" Christopher went from one 
dehght to the next. Trimmer's " Come along. Master Chris- 
topher.' pomted the crowded hours. AcoSnortadS 
wough in other respects, she lacked the ca^ty to E 
Chi^topher wondered at anyone who could Tvl wa^ to 
move on when men were mending the road-aTo^tio^ 
hehunself could have watcheSIf ever.^^t ^Z 
people ever want to see how things were done ? W^the 

S £^t °\ ""trr"* ^^*^ ^ the sand" 
shOTt-handled tool which was half hammer, half pickaxe 

^^A^'^i ^^' ^' ""^ '"'«^« «>« hole n7w S^fs 
tfting the big cube of stone-which in shape and size reminds! 
Christopher of a loaf of English househ^ bn^Te w2 
tossmg ,t now to get it into position to fit squarely irilh^fe 
fellows .had thrown it deftiy into ti,e pS^JhTp^ 
pared for it, and, witii the " hanJmer end " K. impK 

TcDnh "^ '^'^ ""^ -Wch were someho^S 
m ChristophCT's ears. Trimmer could witiistand even tiiis 
When she had started to walk to the sands or tiie r^p^s 



CHRISTOPHER 



lor wh«t the EngUih norm all called the IVHw 7!.,k — *i. 
htty ZTber. .he w«.ted to ^^ ^h^ S 

■distnction. She said, " Come aloiur M>«fi»- rkjT u I. 
■^n wh«. no^ half-'naked meT^ihe E^r W L Thl 

^ens. The wood, one side of it stiU with its bark, thfothw 

^^'itr'Thi*'^- r*^ ^°^"« ''«« "^d there a w^.^ bZi 

if ?*u* '"*?°* 8^' ^«« thrown lengthways S 

Jiwugh the opening of the cellar door to the bfre^^s ZS 

itand back, because if he stood too near the ediM he wo„m 

g cellar, but . . . not to want to see I It was the am. tZ, 
he iron "fountains "in the streets. TSr?,^na^2 
^ttl^ ;Z''"??'k ^?,»«»«^ththeenS,SSFSS 
S f J^fi- t"*"y *«Py ^ter waTaWs W^ 

m. In »fter years any sudden rush of wVtom:^to 

hFaughlsa^i English Trimmer. '^dreX^, Master 

E^T„/°* "" T^ y**" *fter that he realised the 
futh, and even then he did not eauee it ^iSl* i 

K reaKimT rftS SeaiU""'' f^ ^^' 
m why. ®*^'y "nanhood to teU 

h, the bird-shop still on the Port where the parrots screeched, 
■d the cananes sang and flew fmm T,»,^fc i'^rrora screecded. 



a 



M CHRrSTOPHER 

•top . mtooto, Titamwrl Wdl. wdl. weU I Bta. the boy. 
^ "JT u\ .rr ' °" ' memocbte d.y " it " came to. 
I ■ J!T* .^,h»ve •omethlng alive of his own ? A unppy. 
!Z?t^- ^^!^l ST" "'»«• >'"'« Chriatopto 
hSf^JLw?:?^*"*'''' ^^^^^ Itch«,c3^for 
iT f?ST*' *'"*,*1»«« «"«« M empty biidcage in the 
ftmiljhed house which hia mother had taken, jit to pu? 
fatothat Why mightn't he? VVhy. after aU, alrtlM 
lt^f*l "f^ seemed .uddenly to «y. why afto all 
S^.^ M ♦ "* IH!?"! """ ' " *■*• • «>niparatively early 
franc of hU treasured French money which bought Mm hto 

X •., 5? **^'^ " •"""« '» excitement unspealtable, and 
-ofaUOiingsl-apaperbagI His heart misgiving hii, by 

^^J»' '•P/T^ "".'"y "^ rustlinglutt^ngs, Z 
was taeffably comforted to learn-not only from TrimSw at 
the tmie, but also from his all-wise moth^ afterwaid^to' 
to have yielded to a self-sacrificing impulse, which prompted 
him tiiere aiid then to let it go, mstead of consigning it to ~ 
Z',n'Tv'^'*^t2^*TSS^"8''*'^°"''lhaveaSthep;^r 
thing nothing. Why? The other birds would only have 
pedced it to pieces. Why would they ? Neither Christopher's 
motha: nor Trimmer could tell him. Their answer was 
sispiciously Uke " Because they would," but Christopher ab- 
^I *'«Chmtopher satisfied. Contented Christopher then 
with a caged bml and a clear conscience! Cuutented Trim- 

•^•? ? [. T'^*'- however, who upon her own respwi- 
sibihty had sanctioned a purchase the trouble and caiTof 
which must necessarily fall upon herself-if Trimmer, I say 
really had any such hope, she did not know Uttle boys or know 
Christopher. The bu-d-shop not only remained the bird-shop 
bmbecame the Bud-shop where Christopher had Bought his 



*h^ T *?°°'* '^^ ** ''"*«« "«'' ^ *he rain feU upon 
th«e early days, whUe everywhere, to stir the young imari- 
nation^^was the smdl of the sea. It met you in thf br^ 

leaves, held it m essence. Sou'westcis in a shop window, 



CHRISTOPHER 



»3 



lysUow oUtkin cotts. wa booto, or pulleys, ropes, saadoth, 
1 fisbing-tackle, suggested it even in the upper town. Beyond 
J the Port were mysterious regions more aea-fraught still— 
■dim plues compreheosivdy known as Back Streets, never, 
I for fear of something called Infection, to be explored, seldom 
lentered— never, except on the dullest outskirts, when, in 
■full summer, the sun on the Port made the shade of them 
■grateful to the discreet and unenterprising guardians of the 
■young, who, else, had kept them rigorously upon an Index 
■of their own compiling. Somewhere in this mysterinus region, 
land in regions more mysterious still, lived the fishing com- 
Imunity— the comely men with ruddy faces and rings in their 
■ears, the lithe and buxom women, the dip-dap of whose 
■wooden shoes upon the pavement filled the whole of the lower 
■town with undying music. 

I A little boy with eyes, ears, and nostrils, could not be dull. 
■Reading was still without tears, and Mrs. Herrick's knitting- 
IneeJle traced its appointed course daily across the page of 
lAfawf, with occasional excursions to those of a h<y\ in a 
■blue cover paradoxically called the His-to-ry of the Rob-int 
Itn Words of One Syl-la-bU. but the time so spent was more 
ignidged than at Cheltenham. It was difficult to " attend " 
■when he knew that while he wasted the predous moments 
Itadoors, the black-funnelled London boat was being unloaded 
Pin the harbour, where a crane was hoisting great bales on to 
Ithe quay— perhaps even horses I Oh, when it was horses ! 
INo "Come along. Master Christopher" would get Master 
IChristopher then ! Even superior Trimmer had to be inte- 
Irested. Down dipped the chain, paid out from the " reel " 
■in the little black house. The great hook was adjusted 
■gnpped . . . rattle, rattle, rattle, in the litUe black house, 
land the horse-box with its terrified occupant was rising, 
Insmg, poised : a pause then ; dick, dick, and the little black 
■house was turning on its oiled pivot, whUe its freight, snorting, 
■trembling, panic-stricken, swung out in mid-air ; another 
Ipause ; dick, rattle, rattle, rattle, and horse-box and horse 
|were ashore I Many a remonstrant " You're not attending 
IChnstopher," was attributable to the seduction of memories 
I of such supreme happenings as these. Or the cry of the 



H 



CHRISTOPHER 



shnmp-seUers would be heard under the window. Was it 
possible to attend to the Cat and the Rat when Amflie down 

7 w' ^^ ** ?**J^ °' **°"y °* ""^ of Wheaaey's CriTo/ 
£o«A^ seven of which surprisingly hung in the " furnished ' 
French dining-room, was perhaps even then going to the door 
with a ,^sh or a bowl in one hand and money in the other^o 
buy For amongst the shrimps would be baby fish to U 
ci,ant hmi-httle plaice the size of a five-franc piece littte 
crabs the size of anything at all from a pin's head to ^AllS 
biscvut tmy sole^ and Heaven knows what else of liv™to 
for that salt-and-water mortuary known as his Aquan^n^ 
Or perhaps it was the mackeiel-cry which came to Wm fZ 
the street, gratefully to disturb him, or the pleasMt ST 
song cry of the coal, or only, maybe, fugitive thSo^tt; 
sea and the sun and the quays and thelutters ^ 



CHAPTER IV 

WONDERFUL things happened at Boulogne: twice 
a year a fair with meny-go-rounds, and fat ladies, 
and a cow with an arm, and a child with four legs, and Tom- 
bolas, and gingerbread, and everything else of horror and 
delight — of this and of these, later ; once a year the Carnival, 
when Christopher himself was allowed to wear a mask — to 
add for all time (and nothing else perhaps) the hot cardboardy 
smell of masks to his enthralling collection of impressions ; 
once a year the festival of St. Nicolas, the French Santa 
Claus ; and, once for all, the War. Then for a time went 
everything else to the wall, and Christopher was filled with 
martial ardour. 

The town was filled with excitement. Rumour danced to 
fact. It was to be; it was not to be. Was it to be? It was; 
and was presently war in being. The Marseillaise was in 
the air. Workmen sang it, clerks, students, schoolboys. 
Christopher sang it, dramming on the panes of the nursery 
window, and discarded his most treasured toys for soldiers : 

"Awi armes, ciloyens I 
Fofma vas btUaiUons I 
Uankons, marchons " 

"You'll break the window, Master Christopher." But 
even Trimmer hmnmed it, and went so far upon occasion as 
to wiestle with the words. " Le jour de glwore est arrivay." 
The Marseillaise for " Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep " ! 

" Gloire, Trimmer, not glwore." 

" Glwah," amended Trimmer. " Le jour de glwah." 

" It isn't quite," said Christopher. " Can't you hear the 
diffeience ? Listen wiier> I say it. Gloire." 

But Trimmer bad seta it spelt. 



a6 



CHRISTOPHER 



" Well, it isn't ghvore," said Christopher, " and it isn't glaw 
either— yes, you did. You said Le jour de glaw (it isn't con- 
tradicting when you're teaching a person)— and besides, ask 
Mother." 

Mrs. Herrick did not sing it much. It was a revolutionary 
song, she said. The song of the Guillotine really. But the 
melody held her for aU that. She sang it less as time went 
on and events took their course. Had the day of glory really 
come— for France ? Had it, when presently flimsy D^peches 
were yelled in the streets, and the people ran out to buy news 
of victories which had not taken place ? Would Christopher's 
father have sung it ? There were French people even who 
shook their heads. 

But it was a time for Uttle boys to feel martial. Christopher 
longed for the Carnival that he might dress up as a soldier 
—a Zouave for choice. As he walked beside his mother or 
Tnmmer on the ramparts, he defended Boulogne against 
the Prussians. It was the old town, of course, which must be 
besieged— what use else the ramparts ?— and in imagination 
(the ramparts being there for nothing else) he pushed the 
scaling Prussian from their waUs— walls on which, unless he 
was held firmly by his mother's or Trimmer's hand, he was 
forbidden even to think of walking. 
" If you slipped you would be dashed to pieces." 
" How many pieces ? " 
" A thousand," said Christopher's mother. 
So for every Prussian he pushed from them there lay a 
thousand pieces of Prussian on the sloping gardens below. 
Christopher sang the MarseiUaise, but— a tidy Uttle boy 
as we know— paused in his slaughter. 

Still ramparts were ramparts, and there were " miles " of 
them— the whole of the old town within ; the Cathedral, 
streets, squares. Defences and things to defend. Mysterious 
stone stairs, with shining iron rails worn to slipperiness by 
countless hands Uving and dead, led to silent places where 
quite a different life was lived from that of the busy town 
outside. A priest would pass with his book ; many little old 
women in black. Seclusion, secrecy, mystery, everywhere. 
What went on behind the sbuttej-ed windows and the white- 



CHRISTUPHER 



2J 



washed walls ? A house or two on the inner side were almost 
built hito the ramparts themselves. There were suggestions 
of bidden gardens. Lilac in the spring would peep over a 
wall. Someone would pass in or out with a key. There were 
monasteries here and convents. Nuns with moving lips sped 
silently through sheltered streets. There were old men with 
coughs and snuff. A sunny day would bring strange people 
from strange lairs. The mystery of the Haute Ville assumed 
an added glamour for the coming of the war— which (so 
Christopher had settled) was to threaten if not to disturb it. 
He was ready to fight. 

More ready still when, to his excitement and delight, 
soldiers were actually " billeted " upon his very mother, m 
the house with the green shutters in the Rue Gil Bias off the 
Grande Rue. 

It was December then and bitterly cold. The Mobiles — 
young men of all classes, countrymen speaking the patois of 
their department, young men from desks and counters, 
stables, factories, workshops — ^were drawn up on the Espla- 
nade where the fairs were held and waited their orders. In 
their unaccustomed surroundings they looked astray, strange, 
alert, interested, apprehensive, indifferent, according to cir- 
cumstance and individual temperament ; but all as they 
waited in a biting wind looked chilled to the blood or the bone. 
They stamped their feet to get warmth into them or swung 
their anns or blew on their fingers ; and waited. The towns- 
people came up to see them — the householders who would 
be called upon to take them in or pay for their lodging ; and 
they waited. Officials inspected them ; and they waited. 
Those who had money bought food. Those who had not went 
without ; all waited. Faces grew pinched, teeth chattered. 
There were men in thin coats ; in blouses. You were cold 
in a thin coat or a blouse that weather. It was the time of 
year when the heavily clad women in the market, used to all 
weathers, sat nursing little pans of charcoal. 

" Poor things," murmured Christopher's mother, tears in 
her gentle eyes. 

" It isn't 'ardly 'uman," Trimmer said, " keeping them 
standing about in the cold. A blazing fire and a good hot cup 






38 



CHRISTOPHER 



War or no war, 'm, I've 



of coffee, that's what they want 
hardly patience." 

" I wonder whether it would he safe " =,:j r-u ■ ^ . . 

Soi f: "^ "'^^"* *^ ^^y^^ -tff^b't whT SS 

minutes to puU her sleeveld'tpS SoS ^ rii^/^^ 
Wee when you can't button things 'cause your fingl^ be^dSe 

!.4 est gentil, l? p'tit m'sieur." 
He was a boy. The country had tanned him Th» k 
of autumn woods was in his LirLTh^T ' ^^ ''™^n 
the gold of comfieldfin hk £ ""* '" ^y^' ^'^^^'^^ °^ 

" ^^A*!? T T! ^'■°°- ' " **"• Hen^<J< asked him 
fa.1, T ^''!'^^ Madame.' He named his hom7 " Mv 

S:^^Z^.- *^^-- -^ P^-- thatTLw Z 

mti!f^t^ Ifhf" ''^'*''' F'^^topher heard his mother say 
with a catch m her voice-" who Icnows, perhaps covered ^th 

" If the good God will, Madame " 

o/i:^!^r-dtE^^rSor-r:a^ss 



CHRISTOPHER 



his hands in his pockets, and stamp his feet on the hard ground 
^M"in„7r ""^.'^ *^' Sioup from which he hIdS' 
a^jom another, perhaps, at the outskirts. Heads wo^d te 
turned enqmnngly. Any news? No news. Wtimesa 
movement would animate the whole crowd as a bS^ove? 
a cornfield sways the whole of it in one direction. ThSelw 

than the rest was heard to complain, but for the mlTt part 
ftere «,as a passive acquiescence in what was hapSnB^ 

forth Tr^ '" ^'"* '""r.^^y '"^'^t °^ might'^rbLg 

Slv what thT'/T'^ ^ '" ^'^'' ^^ °° °°e knew pr^ 
cisely what the fact of war entailed or implied 

R.^'.^'^-'^***"'^ u^"* ^""^ ^«°*- Gramiy Oxeter in her 

Lata andT '''''' '"' ^ *^^ ^'«» Christopher's Aunt 
Laura , and at one moment or another most of the English 
commumty. Here were Lord and Lady Colsonstow^^ -^ 
trenchers from Ireland ; Mr. and Lady Sophia wTtson^'ro^ 

fi'^lkeT*"^-f *'T"* °' '"^^^ affairsr the^D^wS 
tte HoSe S^«"r '* ^°"'°«"" °" her jointure ; AdmTrJ 
GeneVr2Li^,r. r'^f ' ^' '^^^''^ °" ^s pension ; 
sisteSn^^ ; the Dempseys, two rich elderlyVidows 
sisters-m-law, who lived together and "entertained" and 
this one and that of the Things and the What vSam^s 
and to whom Christopher had to give his right hLTZ^ 
vSrs^'t^''* °' i-tinctively^and'c^mpSeSiyt 
wLo S a^te „r' "^'"^ "^^^ ^y ^°"°<1^ Britton. 

ndZ'Zi.t\r^, '" .^ '""^ ^-^"P"' Espla- 
I tow^. * ** ***"*' ^''° ^«« to be billeted on the 

h-i!^ Colsonstown said there was mismanagement some- 
I elans'" 3""?^' u*° T'" '^to whiskers with an early eye- 

L^ ^ "'''^ °° ^""''t ahout vat. Mrf . Demnsev ^d 
l^ Dempsey were in a little flutter of exdtement Thpr. 

SetX^th^SiS '"•; r ^^^^"^"eaSTal-soS::: 
eiea on the English residents. One Mrs. Dempsey began 






30 



CHRISTOPHER 



! ■ 



' said the Dempseys, 
" They seem very 

Oh, do say you will. 
It seemed that Lord 



to say how long that was. and was only just saved from 
committing herself to dates by a timely nudge from the other 
There were penalties attached to the pride of being a leader 
and one of the " oldest " residents. 

" Well, well," said Christopher's grandmother, " it won't 
hurt us." 

" Are you going to take them in ? ' 
" —soldiers." 

"Certainly," said Granny Oxeter. 
decent young fellows." 
Christopher's heart leapt. 
" You will too, won't you, Mummy ? 
You will, won't you ? " 

Kt3. Herrick meant to take hers in. xi sccmcu mat uDra 
Colsonstown meant to also. So did General AlUngham Lady 
Stoke-Pogis couldn't because she had nowhere to put them 
Neither could the Admiral, unless he doubled them up with— 
Oh, fie. fie," cned a Mrs. Dempsey. Mr. Witson and Lady 
Sophia must fink fings over. But, one after another, the 
Enghsh people followed Mrs. Oxeter's lead, and expressed 
their mtentiou of housing the men apportioned to them 

The Dempseys demurring on the grounds of propriety were 
not the last to yield. It wasn't as if they were a Family they 
saiQ. Still the wind was very cold, and the poor fellows had 
been waiting aU day, and it did seem humaner to take them 
in then and nsk— Heaven knows what !— than pay them off 
to seek other lodging. 

" I Shan go back now," said Mrs. Oxeter, " and see that 
there s something hot for them, poor creatures, whenever 
they come. Come, Laura. TeU him-the Bath chairman 
Allez I Are you coming, dear ? And Christopher ? " 

m. ■ . J '?°P* **y "'""'* ^"°e anything infectious," said 
Chnstopher's mother. 

What remained of the day was fraught with excitement for 
martial Christopher. He helped the maids to prepare the 
room for the coming guests, and, when there was nothing 
more to do, waited their arrival with impatience. All his 
leaden soldiers were requisitioned and a review held on the 
hearthrug m the Droing-room. His mother was kept busy 



CHRISTOPHER 



3' 



But when did she think they would 



answering his questions, 
come? 

servants ? Could he have h.s dinner with the servants too ? 

Sl^T' '*"" '•^^'^ '''' ^*^ Trimmer aThi^Llrin 

The houre passed and no one came. It was near Chris 

topher's bed-tune. In an hour or so the RefraiU^Zi S,nd 

S mr^f°""^ *" ?"'^ '^y^ ^* Boulogne in the ^ven- 
faes. With the passing of drums and bugles and the dist^t 

S'celh vmSitT"". °' Christophers age we^'in S 
UD «lf fh» ^ ?^^ ^^"^ " ^"^ ^^^y ^«"* t° sleep ; but to sit 
Z^ S»h^ "^ were called in to barracks4hat wi^ for 
P^ nights only. To-night, however . . . ChristopheJ 

♦.. ' nf^^P^. *^y """"^ '^"^^ to-mght at all and if thev dn 
Se"rai^f.^^*^-P^-"<^«°tobed. vr.u'^s^JXl" 

,; Vou don-t know how much I want to see them. Mother." 
Cluistopher didn't seem sure. 

I want to see if I want to be one," he said at last 
"^7:"" 1°'^ *° """^ ^^^"^ ■» » quarter of iThour 
" Slt'llT" TZ *^*"' ^"^'"^ Christopher.^ 
-U^uL^'tn^^^'f^' Christopher impatiently. 
IdemJLcotdmo^"'''^"™"^'-'^"^- " Not oL half 

Bu" ttev ^n^"* ^''°'" ^"^ Christopher. 

But they hadn t amved when the quarter of an hour was 



3» 



CHRISTOPHER 



up. Christopher knew he would have to go then. When 
Trimmer said demi-second in connection with bed-time there 
was no appeal even to his mother. He put away his leaden 
soldiers with rather more elaborate tidiness than usual, to 
make the process last as long as it might, but in the end, and 
like a wise prisoner, went quietly. 

His mother came in to wish him good night. 

" If— before I'm asleep." 

" You will be. They've got to have their supper. Think, 
dear, they've been out in the cold all day." 

" They've come then ? Oh, Mother, they've come ! " 

Mrs. Herrick acknowledged that they had. They had 
arrived five minutes after he went up. She had seen them, 
and they were now at their supper. 

" Just for a minute." Christopher's eyes were shining. 
" I'll go to sleep at once afterwards." 

Mrs. Herrick consulted Trimmer with her eyelids. Trim- 
mer, after all, was a Brick. 

She said, " Yes 'm, I think so." 

" You promise, Christopher— if they come in for just a 
minute when they've done their supper, you'll go to sleep at 
once afterwards like a good boy ? " 

Christopher was ready to promise an3rthing. 

So it came that, treading on tiptoe in their heavy boots, 
two young French soldiers came smiling shyly to see a little 
English boy in bed. One of them was not the postman, but 
the other, by everything wonderful, was the young man from 
Adeville, Pierre Something. 

" Oh, I wanted it to be you," said Christopher— for which, 
when it had been translated to him by Christopher's mother, 
the young soldier, first asking permission, took the little boy 
in his arms and kissed him. 






CHAPTER V 

TN the night were excursions and alarms. Something 
1 woke Amaie the cock, who started up in bed and straight- 
way woke C61estine. Together they sat up and listened. At 
the top of the house in the Rue Gil Bias was a large attic 
known as the granary. Off this on each side of the staircase 
were the servants' quarters. One room was occupied by 
Am^he and Caestine, a second for the occasion (and prtv 
pnety ! ) by Miss Trimmer, the third by the recruits. It was 
from the third room that there came the disturbing sounds— 
whisperings, movements. 

Amaie and Cflestine took affrighted counsel together in 
the dark. Am^lie, see you, had been sleeping like an infant 
when of a sudden she had jumped to waking, aiestine would 
know how she felt when she heard the strange men astir, 
bhe had thought to expire. It was a conspiracy, not a doubt 
of It. They would all be assassinated She had read of such 
thii^ and knew. Cflestine wrung her hands under the bed- 
dothes. Whattodo? Listen. That was the dropping of a 
boot. Perhaps those assassins there meant to brain them— 
four defenceless women and a little boy. The alarm ought to 
be given. Should she put her head out of the window and 
push a ay ? It might be there would be a gendarme. Or 
the naghbours might hear. There was M. Brideaux next 
door, but he was no good that one. Another boot I Some- 
uung ought to be done. There was no time to lose. Oh, why 
had Madame ever consented to take them in-those ruffians ? 
And Madame herself ought to be warned, and M'sieu Chris- 
let /♦' ^f T"^"*- " ***^°"* ™°^e they could only 
rfl5 ™f ^f*^'^- What was that? In spite of herself 
t-eiestme pushed " a ciy. 

hr^t ^*^-Pf. °^ * "^^"^ ' "^he two young women held their 
Dreath trembling. Creakings, bumpings, the sound of a soft 
° 33 






34 



CHRISTOPHER 



footfall. Ah I The opening of a door, a footfall then in the 
granary — a hand on the latch of their own door. It was now 
. . . Heaven help them I 

The door was opened cautiously, and the light of a candle 
revealed to the affrighted women not murderers but Trimmer. 
She wore her waterproof cloak (with the rosette in the middle 
of the back) over her nightgown, and had thrust her feet into 
slippers. She was plainly aisturbed, but not to the point of 
the Frenchwomen's panic. 

" Oh, Mile Trim^ ! Mile Trimire t Do you think they 
kill us? Oh, MUeTrimirel" 

" Stuff and nonsense," said Trimmer. " Still, I can't think 
what they're up to." 

" They muredure us in our slip," wailed the cook. " To- 
morrow we are no more." 

That the men were movi.ig there could be no doubt. 
Subdued sounds with now and then a louder proceeded from 
the room across the landing. Moreover, Trimmer, shading her 
own light, had seen a light under their door. 

" Perhaps I'd better speak to Mrs. Herrick," she said. 

"Doa'tlifus. Oh, don't lif us. We come too." 

" And frighten Madame's life out with your silliness ? 
Stay where you are." 

You could not, however, enforce compliance in whispers, 
and it was a procession of three which tiptoed down the 
cracking stairs to the door of Mrs. Herrick's room. Nor woukl 
the shivering two stay outside the door. 

Christopher's mother woke with a start to find three incon- 
gruously dressed females standing by her bed. Trimmer, 
we know, wore her rosetted waterproof with loop sleeves ; 
Amdlie her outdoor coat and a very short striped petticoat, 
and Cdestine the quilt of! her bed. 

"Trimmer, for goodness sake what's the matter? Is 
anyone ill ? Master Christopher " 

" Oh, Madame, calmez-vous, je vous en prie. Escape we 
instantly." 

" No 'm, nobody's ill. Be quiet, you two stupids, can't 
you t " (Trimmer, terrible in the grey waterproof, turned 
on them.) " Hold your tongues, and bdiave like grown 



CHRISTOPHER 



35 

women. Nobody's ill, and nothing's the matter that we can 
be sure of . . ." 

"Is it fire ? " Mrs. Herrick sat up, sniffing the air for a 
smell of burning " The kitchen chimney wanted sweeping. 
I knew It. I said so." ^ * 

"No, no'm. It isn't fire. It's the soldiers " 

" The soldiers ? " 

For a moment Mrs. Herrick thought Boulogne was in the 
hands of the Germans. 

Amflie said, " They assassinate us " ; Cflestine " It Is a 
conspwacy — a plote." 

" Tezzy-vous. WiU you keep quiet ? Tezzy-vous je vous 
dee. 

She turned to her mistress. 

"They're moving about in their room. There's a light 
under the door, and they're talking in whispers. Even I 
don t know what to make of it. And these two ninnies are 
no more good than so many caterpillars "—her frown was 
anmhUat.ng-" you see it's the middle of the night, a quarter 
past three. I don't know, I'm sure " m <"«r 

" One of them may be ill. Oh, Trimmer, the one thing I 
was afraid of was infection." 

" It sounds more Uke as if they were dressing themselves 
than mfection, said Trimmer. " If it was infection or 
anythmg of that sort, it wouldn't sound like this. It'd be 
more " She broke off. 

" More what. Trimmer ? " 

Even m the middle of the night Mrs. Herrick felt whlmsi- 

^y merested to leam what Trimmer thought infection 

i r^. ^sound" hke. But Trimmer had brlen off, and 

Chnstopher-cunosity in a Uttle nightshirt-*ad added 

himself to the group. 

inl°i. P^'i^Pj'^^u.*'^^*"*^ °"* °* ^eeP- impressions 

I ^^t *" '^^. *" "' "*°«' ' F'^t' v««s penetrating his 

Slumbers, coming to him as across measureless distances to 

fe!i?™K°l ^- ^'^ ''"***«'^y ^^^ in the shape of his 
tamhar bed made unfamiliar somehow by the circumstances 

off «,^^\"r'°* '■ . " ^°^^ ^°' '^''^^' fear not far 
OH exactiy, but adequately held in check by curiosity, and by 



I.I 









36 



CHRISTOPHER 



the knowledge perhaps, under everything else, of the position 
of 1 3 room in relation to succour ; a gradual realisation of the 
direction whence the sound of the voices proceeded; a 
sitting up, to become aware not only of voices, but of a light 
in the adjoining room, and, when he had stepped to the 
ground and padded across the floor in his bare feet, the odd 
sight of the odder group by his mother's bed ! Delicious 
exatements for Christopher. More delicious still when 
apprehension found its way into them. For it must be 
admitted that there was a moment in Mrs. Herrick's room 
when all held their breath, and it was not only the shivering 
Ainaie and C^estine who were frightened. These stifled a 
Mon Dteu apiece, and clung to each other in palpitating 
silence. Trimmer stiffened and turned her eyes on the door 
and Mrs. Herrick took Christophers hand. Everyone 
listened. Christopher wasn't exactly frightened. He couldn't 
be of the soldier who had kissed him. But what he was was 
frightfuUy exciting. A stealthy foot on the stairs— two feet • 
four to be accurate ... 

Afterwards how they all laughed ! Christopher went back 
to bed with a biscuit and a lump of sugar with eau de Cologne 
on It (to prevent his catching cold !). AmdUe and Cflestine 
giggled on and off for the rest of the night. Trimmer said, 
Upon her word I And Mrs. Herrick chuckled heraelf to 
sleep. Two young soldiers, without clock or watch, wake 
in the night and think it is time to get up, and a household 
is thrown into panic ! Well, weU, well. 

But it made for friendship all round. The young soldiers 
desolated to have alarmed Madame, reaped for their blunder- 
mg something not unlike affection in the Rue GU Bias 
Poor shy, conscientious things, what " gentlemen " they were 
—treading softly not to disturb, and disturbing everybody ' 
It was somehow " pathetic." The incident had in it that 
touch of nature which makes the whole world kin. An Irish- 
woman would have said, " The creatures," throwing approval 
and pity and everything else that is benign and exclamatory 
mto an expression. Mrs. Herrick said, " Poor dears," and 
meant nothing less. She was easUy touched, perhaps. 



CHRISTOPHER 



!^.; ♦„ »kT"'^J'*"'^' ^*'' Trimmer, not to have kXn 
what to thmk Trimmer added that as it just showed tow 

■• Youi" "oo"„?s ifJr"- ''*"""''■" **"• «'^'* -<>• 
Se^Lri;."- ^"°^ -^^'-'^ - --^y aS 

' What were you like inside, Trimmer ? " said rhri<.*«„i,-. 
who naturaUy wanted to kno^ " Ou^de ™?hTH '^ ' 
waterproof, and you did look flny " ^ ""^ °" y"*" 

anZl^fiXiS..^'*'"' ^^^*^' ^'-*°P'>- ^^'^ ^ 
Amaie and CaesUne. however, had happily lost nothine in 

Oh! £'i ,l5i"e,']S!!..'" "» "*"• *■•' ™" y» ' 



■' '!. 
i 'I 



l\ 



All 



*!. 



38 



CHRISTOPHER 



" Though you can't help but smfle," she conceded ihdul- 
gently. 

The young soldiers, it was clear, were the heroes of an 
adventure of which Amflie and Cflestine were the heroines ! 
With superior Trimmer you could not have helped smihng. 

The work of the house went on oiled wheels meanwhile. 
The soldiers waited upon the maids in their spare time- 
chopped wood, drew water, carried coals. Fu-es were found 
miraculously laid, boots cleaned, windows. Pixies might have 
had the house under their protection. The billet was for 
three days, but Christopher's mother asked her guests to stay 
on. Their delight was not less patent than Christopher's, to 
whom this period was a time of enchantment. He adored 
them, and they him, as they respectfully worshipped Madame 
his gracious mother. He rode on their shoulders, his sturdy 
young legs round their willing necks. They rigged up a swing 
for hhn from a beam in the granary ; swung him ; taught him 
gymnastics ; drilled him. They were formidable rivals to the 
attractions of the Bird-shop on the Port or even the landing 
of horses from the London boat. St. Nicolas came and 
mysterious additions to the contents of Christopher's stocking. 

" Oh, they've been spending their money ! They mustn't. 
Oh, Trimmer " said Mrs. Herrick. 

" They were so set on it 'm. They asked me if I thought 
you'd mind. I was to smuggle the thmgs in." 

" Of course I don't mind. Only " 

"Yes'm. I know. I hadn't the heart to refuse them." 

A humming-top with a song like the song of a hive, and a 
box of pamts with a sliding cover, Uttle bricks of colour in 
wooden compartments in which they rattled, china saucers, 
brushes, to the shifting collection of Christopher's cherished 
toys I Nor would they be thanked. It was nothing. It was 
St. Nicolas, moreover, not they. Christopher huReed them 
for all that. 

So, for Christopher storing impressions, the outstanding 
features of the war were not in after years to be connected 
with the names of Napoleon III and William of Prussia, of 
Marshals Bazaine and MacMahon, with Gravelotte, Sedan, 
Metz, Str?sbuTg, Paris, for milestones by the way to the 



CHRh.TOPHER 39 

ultimate cessions and indemnities, but rather witii a top and 
a box of paints, which remained to him to present two amiable 
young countrymen who nearly tiirew a household in the 
middle of tiie night into panic. Humming-tops in later years 
sang Alsace and Lorraine to him sadly for their gentle sakes, 
and pamt-boxes showed him nursery colourings of pictures in 
the lUustrated London News. He was not a soldier 



-^^i'f 



t:'iii 



4 
< i 

1 1 



1 1 
I i 



•'• r, i. 



CHAPTER VI 



THEY went as they came — ^into the blue for out of it. 
There were tears in the Rue Gil Bias. Christopher 
cried frankly — hanging round the neck of Pierre About, whom 
he loved best. Jean Poulard came a near second, but Pierre 
from Adeville was first. Had he not seen Pierre before even 
the billets were settled ? Had he not spoken to him then — 
in a way introduced him to his mother ? Besides, Jean Pou- 
lard was in love with C^lestine (Trimmer said so !), and used 
to look at her as he swung Christopher in the swing in the 
granary, if, as was not infrequent, she was there to be looked 
at ; and Pierre was not in love with anyone, and so was free 
to be Christopher's friend. You could not help loving one 
person more than another — whom you yet loved nearly as 
much. You just did, and there was an end of it and no more 
to be said. C61estine, when the swinging was in progress, 
pretended to be heart-whole — leaning against the balustrade 
at the top of the granary stairs, and generally laughing. 
Pierre used to pretend that Jean was jealous if she turned in 
his direction, and C61estine would toss her pretty head. 
Jealous indeed ! Jealous ! " II n'y a pas d'quoi." That 
meant that there wasn't any what, if it meant anything. What 
was what, then ? Pierre seemed to know. Jean seemed to 
know. Trimmer did know. Christopher, fljring to the sky- 
light in one direction, and backwards to the sloping roof in 
the other, was always desperately interested. But C61estine, 
Trimmer said, was a Sad Flirt. 

" Flairt ? " said the innocent Cdlestine, " Fleurt ? Qu'est 
ce que 9a veut dire ? " 

" Oh, you know," said Trimmer. 

Sometimes it was Cflestine herself who was swung — a 
screaming Cdlestine making pictures — L'Escarpolette, for 
example, with its attendant hazards I — and imploring, 
40 



CHRISTOPHER 



4> 



through her little shrieks of laughter, for mercy. Christopher, 
inciting Pierre or Jean, had none. Higher I Higher ! Even 
Trimmer, there to look after Christopher and perhaps to play 
propriety, had to laugh. The spirit of the swing was irresis- 
tible. If only her understandii^ yoimg mistress could have 
seen too t But that, of course, would have been out of the 
question . . . though she might hear — and did. It was 
a pity, however, for the sight was exhilarating, and C^lestine's 
laughter infectious. How they were punishing her ! She 
would laugh herself to the ground if she did not take care. 
What, still higher ? Higher ! She had brought it upon her- 
self. 

And then someone would say it was Trimmer's turn. Not 
Trimmer ! — if she knew it ! Not for someone of the period 
called Joseph ! 

All over, and Pierre and Jean ofi to the war ! No wonder 
there were tears after so much laughter. No more gymnas- 
tics and drillings ; no more enthralling accounts of life on a 
French farm ; no more personal contact with the war — for 
that day at least Christopher, resentful, wanted it gloriously 
or ingloriottsly over. Cflestine weeping for her assassin, her 
conspirator, her peaceable Jean Poulard, was not more 
inconsolable. 

" After all," Trimmer said, " there's nothing like a man 
in a house 'm, is there ? " 

Mrs. Herridc smiled, but agreed with her. 

It was Christopher's first experience of the transience of 
things generally. His mother had learnt her lesson long since, 
and watched him — ^thinking of one beside whom she had 
thought to watch him. To be sure he had not stood still. 
There had been Cheltenham where there was now Boulogne, 
but he had parted with no one before to whom he was, or he 
imagined himself to be, attached. He wandered about the 
house disconsolately, grieving, bored, uninterested, and, if it 
must be admitted of him, rather cross. Poor Christopher, 
but oh, poor mother of Christopher who had known Chris- 
topher's father 1 There was nothing, as Trimmer had said, 
and as Christopher had found out for himself, like a man in 
the house. 



'i- ii 



\l* 



4* 



CHRISTOPHER 



After the going of the soldiers, life in the Rue Gil Bias 
seemed rather flat to everyone for a time. Boulogne was not 
very cheerful just then, though the times themselves were 
exciting. Dissatisfaction was rampant — France beginning to 
realise in earnest all that the surrenders of the autumn had 
meant. News from the front was discredited now. Disputant 
politicians were agreed in condemning if in nothing else. The 
nation's enemy came in for scarcely harder words than its 
former leaders. It was A bos this one and that long since, 
and not as at first the Germans only. " Monsieur " Berden- 
heimer (Albredit), the German bookbinder of the Rue Trois 
Sceurs, who, popular as he was, had felt all along that he 
could not be quite sure of his position, knew still less what to 
make of it. It was touch-and-go with a Latin race. Would 
his windows be broken after all? Resentment simmered, 
threatening at any moment to break into a boil. The people 
who had welcomed the Republic bad looked to it to reverse 
the reverses, and with the Emperor and Bazaine for scape- 
goats, had turned hopeful faces to the future. Napoleon and 
his marshals remained to them for execration, but were pros- 
pects improving ? Business was said to be at a standstill. 
The women grumbled in the market. Their young men had 
been taken, and to what good ? The shopkeepers grumbled 
behind their counters and across them. No one but felt the 
pinch of the times — ^had felt it since the disasters, but seemed 
now to be feeling it increasingly, and with the siege of Paris 
. . . things were at a pretty pass in a world which thought 
itself civilised ! Depressed times, my masters — strange, 
depressed, exciting times I 

The more timid of the English community began now to 
talk of leaving. No one landed. Mrs. Oxeter was not going 
to budge. The Lord bless her soul, was not God in His heaven 
and the Folkestone boat at her very door ? Mrs. Herrick did 
not mean to move either. Christopher, living keenly again 
after the brief reaction, and taking impressions as a sponge 
sucks up water, was enjoying himself. 

So life went on as before the war, only not quite as before, 
for there was always the feeling now behind your walks or 
your lessons or your play that something might ha^^n — a 



CHRISTOPHER 



43 



rather pleasant feeling, Christopher thought. Had not some- 
thing happened indeed in the recent billeting of the Mobiles 
on the town ? Something more might at any moment. It 
was said presently that rats were being eaten in Paris. Rats 1 
Think of that I Christopher, however, with the catholic 
palate of youth, thought he would rather like to eat a rat. 
He was quite sure that he would like to eat a mouse. Why, 
you could buy larks on a string in the market or at any 
of the poulterers' shops (only Christopher's mother never did 
because it was cruel — ^well, because larks sang then, and " it " 
was a " sin and a sharoe " !), so why shouldn't you eat mice, 
which, though they were smaller, even allowing for the lark's 
feathers, would of course be equally delicious on strips of 
toast ? The accounts then of the eating of dogs, cats, and 
rats even, did not horrify Christopher as they should have 
horrified him. Trimmer, with her outraged mouth awry at 
the mere thought of such things and her internal economy 
said to be " quite turned," could hardly eat her tea that 
day. 

" I'd like a mouse," declared Christopher stoutly. 

" To be sure they eat snails in some parts of France," said 
Trimmer faintly. " I don't think I could sit at the table wit>^ 
one." 

She sipped delicately. 

Periwinkles were dffierent, she held. They were shell-fish, 
like ojrsters, which were very expensive. Besides, she wasn't 
sure that she did like periwinkles so very much. Shrimps, 
now 

Shrimps ate an}^ing, said' Christopher — ^particularly 
corpses. 

He was not to be horrified. But there were other stories 
—of starvation and sickness and cold which impressed his 
young imagination deeply. It was " lucky," he said, that 
Pierre and Jean were not in Paris. 

He went back to the sea and the quays and the gutters. 
There were other things in life besides the war, after all. Had 
he only thought he was martial ? His mother watching him 
wondered. She did not believe somehow that, soldier's son 
as he w&s, be was going to be a soldier. Nothing definitely 



'Mi 

'ill 



I 



,1 : 



\m 



44 



CHRISTOPHER 



I 



showed yet. Movements as of straws, perhaps. Did you need 
more, though, to tell you the wind's duection ? Chaff would 
do that— dust, the lighter sweepings ni the road. When she 
saw, then, that he was philosophical ratlier than combative 
in the small things of eveiy day, and that wliile other boys 
for their excitement must be up and doing, he for his had not 
to do more than use his eyes and his ears and his nostrils, she 
drew her conclusions. By degrees, moreover, she began at 
this time to be dimly conscious of some inner life upon which 
her strange little son seemed to draw for his eager sustenance, 
and which he fed in turn with the harvest of these gamerings. 
Oh, the sea and the quays and the gutters ! 

Then quite suddenly upon a day one traveller returned. 
A ring at the back door revealed to the answering Cflestine, 
not her Jean, it was true, but his comrade. The excited young 
woman summoned Am^e and Trimmer, and the three of 
them, rejoicing to see him again and noticing nothing at first, 
led him to the kitchen. His last letter had miscarried, x his 
correspondents in the Rue Gil Bias would have known that 
some of the Mobiles were to be quartered once more in the 
town. Orders and counter orders had ruled their disposal, 
and they had seen no fighting. They were not billeted this 
time upon householders, but, the barracks being full, were 
sleeping (on straw) in such shelter only as the Custom House 
afforded. 

Mrs. Herrick and Christopher were out when he came. It 
was Granny Oxeter's birthday, and they were spending the 
afternoon and evenmg with her at her house in the Place 
Moli&«. Christopher wore his best suit, and was to stay up 
for late dinner at which there was to be champagne, a fasci- 
nating wine which in those days bubbled up like a fountain 
from the depths of the stem of your glass. But the day and 
the party were fixed in his memory as much for that which 
did not happen as for that which did. For, on the one by 
reason of the other, he missed his friend's visit — for which, 
as events turned out, his mother at least could never be 
sufficiently thankful. This— for he was never to see the young 
soldier again— must be counted for that which did not happen. 



CHRISTOPHER 



45 



That which did happen was that on thb day he heaid for the 
first time of the existence of Cora St. Jemison. 

Pierre About, he learned afterwards, came to the Rue Gil 
Bias at six. At that hour Christopher was saying good-bye 
to the last of the visitors— the people in bonnets who had 
brought his grandmother flowers and knitted shawls, and 
wished her many happy returns of the day. Then his grand- 
mother and his mother and his two aunts drew their chairs 
round the fire for one of those enthralling grown-up conver- 
sations which he never tired of listening to. Experience had 
taught him not to ask questions and, the better to listen, 
always to occupy himself at such moments with a book. 
Questions only brought such answers as "Never mind, 
dear," or " You wouldn't understand," or " You'll know 
when you're older," if not, indeed— from his Aunt Laura, 
who none the less adored him—" Little boys should be seen 
and not heard " ; the unfairest answer, surely, that ever was 
framed for the silencing of the acquisitive young. A book 
was covert— ambush even. Granny Oxeter's big Bible with 
the pictures— and what Christopher called the Hypocrypha 
—was shelter from under which Christopher, unperceived, 
assisted at many a confabulation not meant for his ears. It 
was thus that he had heard of the Mrs. St. Jemison who 
couldn't be called upon, and thus that he now heard of Cora. 

In the Rue Gil Bias, meanwhile, time passed oddly. Pierre 
sat on and on in the kitchen. He was heavy and unlike him- 
self—so unlike the young soldier who a short time back had 
helped on the one hand to scare the hoiBehold and on the 
other to make the swing of laughter and love in the granary, 
that the servants knew not what to make of him. He talked 
of the p'tit m'sieur, and Christopher afterwards had that for 
his comfort. He drank coffee feverishly, but could not eat. 
He sat with his head in his hands. It was an effort to him to 
give what news he had to tell of his comrade. Jean Poulard 
was here or was there, he was not sure ; but Madame and the 
p'tit m'sieur, would they soon be in ? Should he see them ? 
It was a parrot cry. The good Madame and the p'tit m'sieur 
—and they had explained to him so often. 

Cflestine, who had welcomed him in her excitement almost 



111 



1 



I! 



46 CHRISTOPHER 

as Rhoda of old the Peter of all, when in hen she left him 
standing at the gate, exchanged anxious glances with Amfiie 
and Trimmer. The man was ill, not a doubt of it. At eight 
o'clock, Trimmer, really anxious, took action and sent for a 
doctor. By ten poor Pierre was in hospital. 

A quarter of an hour later Mrs. Herrick and Christopher 
got home. Christopher, happily, was sleepy, or he might have 
wondered inconveniently why Trimmer opened the door to 
them, and why there was such a smell of sulphur in the house. 
There was something, moreover, in Trimmer's aspect and 
demeanour which ordinarily would not have escaped him. 
He would have seen for one thing that she was wearing 
her best dress, if, in the sudden light of tlie lamp after the 
darkness of the hired fly, he had not been blinking and wink- 
ing, his knuckles to bis eyes ; nor probably would he have 
missed a signal which she made to his mother. 

" You're tired out, darling," his mother said to him quickly. 
" Go on up and begin to undress. We shall be up after you 
in a moment." 

Christopher made for Trimmer, but she receded— oddly, 
he would have thought, if he had been capable of thinking. 

" Nonsense, Master Christopher, you must walk up Your- 
self." 

" Do as I tell you, darling." 

Christopher mounted the stairs laboriously, a step at a 
time. 

" There won't be a light," he said sulkily over his shoulder. 

" Yes there will," said Trimmer. " I left everything ready." 

Christopher got as far as his room, where presently his 
mother found him fast asleep on the bed with his clothes on. 

" There's nothing to be afraid of 'm, and we've all had 'ot 
baths and I've changed to the skin, but I thought, perhaps, 
if you'll put him to bed for to-night I'd better not go near 
him, being a child— Master Christc^er, I mean. You see, the 
poor young man sat here the best part of two hours or more, 
and aH we could get out of him was, when should he see you 
and the young gentleman. It was lucky I thought of the 
doctor, for I'm sure I didn't know what to do, and when he 
said small-pox-^)etty verole, as they call it— I said sulphur 



CHRISTOPHER 47 

and hot baths, and we've had every window in the place open. 
Still, it's best to be on the safe side." 

" His poor mother," said Christopher's. But what Chris- 
topher, waking suddenly out of sleep, wanted to know was : 
what was meant by " Custody of the Child." 

"Custody of the ChUd ? " said Christopher's mother. 
" You've been dreaming, darling." 

" No, I haven't." 

" But Custody " 

" My collar undoes first. Granny said it." 

"Said what?" 

" Said Mr. St. Jamison had it, and now he was ill, and if he 
died and there was no where else for Cora to go, she supposed 
Mis. St. Jemison would have to." 

" Oh ! " Mrs. Herrick's forehead was puckered. " Have 
to what ? " she said, after a pause. 

" Have to have it." 

" Never mind Mrs. St. Jemison, dear. It's gettijig very late. 
Besides "—even mothers, as Christopher came to know when 

he was older, could use words inconsequently ! " Besides, 

I didn't know you were listening." 

So Pierre About went out of Christopher's ]ife (for he died, 
poor fellow,wiot many weeks later), 4u»d, indirectly, on the 
same day, Cora St. Jemison, a mere name, but a name, it 
seemed, not to be spoken, came into it. 

Christopher long remembered that particular birthday of 
the birthdays of his grandmother. 



^ 



CHAPTER VII 



IF there was presently one person more than another in 
whom Christopher was interested, it was the beautiful 
lady who could not be called upon by grown-up people 
nor talked about before little boys. He knew her very well 
by sight. Her chignon was different from anybody else's — 
different even from )iis beautiful mother's, whose, in turn, 
was oh so very different from his Aunt T^ura's. His Aunt 
Laura's and most other people's, contained what Christopher 
called stuffing, and Trimmer " Frizettes/' which generally 
showed through. No stuffing showed through his mother's 
thick plaits, nor Mrs. St. Jemison's — nor Trimmer's for 
that matter, which, as we know if we have not forgotten, 
were quite beyond her station, and permitted only by 
her gentle mistress's indulgence. But while Trimmer's 
locks were brown, and his mother's brown too, with a 
coppery tinge in the light, Mrs. St. Jemison's were of 
an incredible gold, more beautiful than anjrthing Chris- 
topher had ever seen. You could see Mrs. St. Jemison's 
tresses from afar. They sauntered rather snperdDioualy— 
discontentedly as often as not — under a mauve parasol with a 
folding stick down the Grande Rue, or along the Port, or 
down the planks laid on the softness of the upper " Sands." 
She would sit with a book i- a bee-hive chair, or in one of the 
tents which you could hhw, and look contemplatively or 
amusedly at the people who cotild not call upon her. Some- 
times a very good-looking young Englishman would be with 
her, but she didn't seem *o know anybody else. She alwajrs 
looked happy for the first few days when he was there, and 
the people who couldn't call, some of whom knew him, 
turned their heads away more than ever and said It was 
Very Sad, and Such a Promising Young Fellow, and 
48 



CHRISTOPHER 45 

wmethiiig about a Wretched Entanglement, and a gieat 
<^ about His Poor Father. Christopher knew they said 
these things, for though his mother always feU into silence 
when Mrs. St. Jemison's name was mentioned, and, if Christo- 
pher had known it. had started at the first sight of the young 
Englishman and turned precipitately into a shop as if to hide 
his aunts were not so reticent, and Christopher when he was 
out with either of them often found .'imself the listening one 
of a talking group. But the young EngUshman who, by the 
way, could always make Mrs. St. Jemison laugh, didn't look a 
bit Entangle J, Christopher thought, and he certainly did not 
00k wretched. He looked, on the contrary, very careless and 
ught-hearted, and sometimes rather cross. It was Mrs. St 
Jemiaon then who looked wretched if anyone did— only it 
was more aggrieved, if Christopher had known it, than 
wretched, and it was generaUy after that that the EngUshman 
would not be thare, and Christopher would know from what 
the groups said that he had Gone back to his Relations. 
Cnristopher hated the groups. 

He tackled Trimmer. Why couWu't ugly people caU? 
Because Mrs. St. Jemison had run away from her husband 
a he must know ; and at the last as at the first, according to 
Tnmmer that is, as accordmg to everyone else, Mrs. St. 
Jemison was not a Nice woman. This Christopher disputed 
He wouU pit his conviction agamst the opinion of any group 
Oh but she was, he maintained— nicer than anyone iii 
Boulogne except his mother. To that Trimmer, up in arms 
said that he wasn't to name her in the same breath with hi^ 
mamma. Mrs. St. Jemison had taken steps that put her 
outside the pale— whatever that meant. Christopher's " What 
pale ? " was overlooked in her vehemence. Leaving her little 
gffl too— Trimmer hadn't patience. Well, anyway, said 
Christopher, the nice Englishman thought her nice, and he 
Umstopher. would rather (if not precisely in these words) be 
thought nice by him than by all the ugly old women put 
together, who sat in gcoMps on the sands, on week days, went 
to church in the Rue de la Lampe on Sundays, and wore 
t)onnets and bugles and called on each other all day long I 
" For shame. Master Christopher." 



iH 



iH 






50 



CHRISTOPHER 



" I would," said Cbriatopher •tontly, nor wu he to be 
dislodged from the i-neition he had taken tq|> ai the lady's 
champion. Trimmer, however, might be relied on to show 
wisdom in her generation, and to cease argument at the right 
moment. One thing would oust another, die knew that ; and 
led Christopher from the scene of the discussion — the sands, 
where Mrs. St. Jemison, whether she was there or not, might 
tlways be felt to be in evidence — to the Es{danade where 
idanJcs and nails and much hammering were insbting just then 
on the imminent impendence of the summer fair. 

" We'll see how they're getting on np there, shall we ? " 
said Trimmer. 

" Up there " where the Mobiles had once shivered in the 
cold, there was bustle and stir to divert the jroong mind. 
The merry-go-rounds had not arrived yet, but many of the 
shows were in course of erection. Gaunt frameworics, pre- 
sently to be covered with canvas, threw unwonted shadows. 
Living-vans stood by pegged-out claims, where presently a 
Bearded Lady or a Giant or a Fat Woman would hold a five-sou 
or three-sou court. Here dust was in the air with many con- 
flicting odours. Further on where the stalls would soon 
display their wares the clean smell of wood was predominant, 
and met the nostrils pleasantly. Here was a stall nearly 
finished. Packing-cases lay in it and outside it, and shavings 
and straw Uttered the ground. Here, again, the frame only 
was standing, and neat match-boarding waited the carpenter's 
will. Shining naik lay everywhere. You might pick one 
up at every step, and Christopher soon had his pockets full, 
lie hammering was deafening in places. Every board, 
whether implicated or not, made itself a sounding-board for 
ringing blows. These echoed down the unfinished alleys, and, 
wherever they found three walls, there made riot. It was 
Take that, and that, and that, through poor Trimmer's head 
. . . Christopher enjoying it all, taking all he was given and 
asking for more I 

Mingling with the scent of the wood was now and then a 
delicious smell of cooking. Hae, as everjnvhere else in the 
town or any French town, something very savoury seemed 
to be in course of preparation not far from wherever yon might 



CHRISTOPHER ,, 

^'^11'^"^'' unfinfahed doors, or the aUey between staU 
•nd stall, a glimpM might be caught of a woman stirrinTa 
«ucepan, or bending over a f^dn^pan. or UWng^he Ud^f ' 

loiigotten; the mce EngUshman ; Cora. 
Christopher jingled the nails in his podtets. He had 

a-" L^-'tSe^ '^""^ "*' ''^'- "^'^ 
heS'-'lThJ-ol^.""'^ *" """"«*•" '^°^^' Trimmer to 

latS trr t "iTmfso" '*• ^"S"^ "-' ™""*«' 
than ever. Mr,. St. Je^^ some p^\ ^'"^'' ■""* 

Trimmer, it chanced, had made a conquest just then at 

Fn^sr • *^1, """'=>'' «'ther there or elsewhere. But the 
Enghd^ p^o-tuner was rather an attractive young man. 

^^JT^°' P*^""* '«'P^«^"8 Triinmef. who 
frowned as often as not upon her conquests, she was ii^dined 

Lmi* "r "r • "^r'^ ^ '^^^ ^y chance upo™ 
summers day she smiled upon him at some Uttle length. 

waidJ^ oS f • '1* *° "'"^" '"^ "^^ unmeasured moS 
Zio^ .? f*^ amusement or mischief. He found both 

H,^ *L?^ '^'^ '^° ''"PPy "P°° * hazaidous see-saw of 
nis own contriving. 

Trimmer then might be as long as she liked with her 

which Christopher balanced himself adventurously. He 
toew his weight first upon one foot and then on the other, 
T.^if responded upon its rocking-axis. A Uttle crowd 
LT ^"''T '°"^ *'''*°* anywhere, collected presently, 
IMe^r f^- '"88^«°°^- Christopher, a good temper^ 

w^he did not care to adopt them, when one rag^uita 

p":^:^^u^;ilr ''' ^"* '"' "^ •'*"'' ™ ^^ -^^"e 

Cluistopher's French was not idiomatic. 
Si vous faltes (a encore " 






'< 



1i 



5" 



CHRISTOPHER 



No sooner said than done. The plank swung suddenly 
round. The trestle heeled over. There were a crash and a cry, 
and Christopher lay amid the wreck of his see-saw. He was 
on his feet in a moment — ^ready with his little fists too ! — 
and was vaguely conscious of being spurred on by a voice 
which said, " Go it, young 'un. Punch their bullet heads for 
them," when of a sudden the world, like the plank, swung 
round, and Christopher sank to the ground. He was only 
dimly aware then of the precipitate flight of the boys as 
someone ran forward. . . . 

" It's the nice little English boy," another voice was 
saying when b? came to himself. 

"Young devils, I'd ^ like to have broken their heads for 
them. What is it, little chap ? Where does it hurt ? " 

" In my trousers," said Christopher. " I think it's one of 
the nails." 

" One of the naik ! " 

" He s bleeding. Oh, poor little fellow." 

" Hush, you'll frighten him. Wliat nails, little chap 7 " 

" The ones I picked up. You can find any number if you 
look, you can really. Oh ! " 

He had moved a little as he spoke, and the stab of pain 
which he felt forced a ay from him. 

" It's in still. It's sticking in," he said — ^in rather a weak 
voice for Christopher. 

It was indeed. He began to cry now in spite of himself. 
A spreading patch of blood was reddening his trousers. He 
was wearing a white sailor suit, and the encroaching stain 
looked dreadful upon the linen. Christopher wondered 
whether he was going to die. 

The Englishman's fingers wrestled with buttons. Mrs. St. 
Jemison, pulling off her gloves, and ignoring the dust, was on 
her knees in a moment and helping him with gentle capable 
hands. 

" Now pull," he said to her. " Easy t There's another 
button. No, it's the pocket. Stop, I'll cut it." He whipped 
out a pen-knife. 

" Not you, little chap, don't be frightened. Only your 
pocket. It's all right. We won't even spoil your beautiful 



CHRISTOPHER 53 

suit though I think it'll have to go into the tub after this 
wontrt? TTiafs better. Get my handkerchief out of my 
pocket Inside. Yes, I shall want yours too. Hold him up a 
httle bit, will you? Now "-to Christopher-" ifU hurt 
just fOT one second, old boy. You won't mind that, will you ? 
And then you-U be as right as ninepence." 

Ym, it did hurt for a second. Christopher held his 
teeath. He wouldn't cry out. He would rather be hurt by 
the young Englishman than anyone. He didn't much mind 
bemg hurt by the young Englishman. But oh, it did hurt. 
He had to hold his breath Ught. 

" Where's Master Christopher ? " Trimmer said suddenly, 
f he nearest hammering had ceased for some reason or other 
a'.d perhaps the comparative luJ brought her back to a sense 
of her surroundings. She did not want her chaige out of 
her sight for long amongst faur-folk, whom she thought of 
as gipsies. ^ 

"^ Where's Master Christopher ? " 
" Not far oil, you may be sure. Miss Trimmer." 
I don't know why then," said Trimmer, "though I'm 
sure I hope you're right." 

., !i^° V^.'". ^^ ^^ piano-tuner gaUantly, " no one who 
had the fehaty to be privileged, so to speak, to be near you 
could wish of his own will to wander very far." ' 

"Tut tut," said Trimmer, not ill-pleased aU the same. 

Not Master Christopher's view of the situation I can teU 
you. when I have to say * No you mustn't ' to him, as I have 
to mne times out of ten— though a better boy never ate sour 
apiJes. Where is he, though ? He was here not a minute 
ago — not five, anyway." 

She looked about her. The ceasing of the hammering near 
at hand gave an unreal feeling to the moment. The piano- 
tuner and she, having been at some pains to make themselves 
heard, were left suddenly with raised voices. It was to 
Tnmmer as if walking in the dark she had felt a searchlight 
suddenly turned on her. <— .6"i 

The men who had been hammering jumped down from an 
unfinished stall and made hastUy for the spot where the 



''•!l 



11 < 



V. 



54 



CHRISTOPHER 



shows would be. Some women ran across the open space at 
the end of the alley. 

" There's something up," said the piano-tuner. 

" If there's a crowd Master Christopher's sure to be in it," 
said Trimmer. " I never saw such a curious boy — and not 
exactly curious either. More interested, I think. Interested in 
everything and wanting to see it and understand it. I'm sure, 
when he was smaller, I spent my time in nothing else than 
saying, ' Oh, do come along. Master Christopher.' " 

" Yon wouldn't have to say that very often to me," said 
the piano-tuner. He had but one idea. 

They began to walk towards the opening. Trimmer 
suddenly quickened her pace. Suppose Master Christopher 
were not round the corner after all 1 She remembered a day 
when he and another little boy had gone off by themselves 
on the rocks, and terrified their respective nurses out of their 
senses. They had been found then in their homes, calmly 
waiting the return of their missing guardians — ^the tables 
turned to some purpose! But the fright — the horrible 
•• turn " ! 

"If he's not there," said Trimmer, "I'll never forgive 
you." 

" He ? " said the piano-tuner, " — never forgive me ? " 

" Yes, yon," said Trimmer sharply, but repenting her of 
the evil as she saw his face fall, added, " Nor myself either," 
ior his comfort. 

They reached the opening. Yes, there was a crowd sure 
enough. Trimmer hurried forward. Christopher would be 
in the thick of this. It did not surprise her that she should 
not see him on the outskirts. He would have wormed his 
sturdy litheness to the middle of it, where he would be asking 
questions, making suggestions, answering its components in 
their own tongue. Well, well, she knew where to find him ; 
and approached now nothing doubting. 

To her surprise the crowd broke for her. Afterwards she 
realised that someone who had periiaps seen the pair together 
recessed her as Christopher's nurse and made way for her, 
telling the others. To her at the time it was as to the Israelites 
when they saw the waters of the B«d Sea parting before them. 



CHRISTOPHER 



S5 



When she saw Christopher, pale then from loss of blood, and 
who they were who were ministering to him, her feehngs were 
such as could with difficulty have been put into words. 
^ Mrs. St. Jemison and the young Englishman— with help 
from Christopher, proud of the inch and a half of shining 
nail which had been pulled out of him— quickly explained 
the situation. The wound was being bound up with the two 
handkerchiefs. Even m that moment of fear and dismay 
Trimmer remembered that the handkerchiefs were "com- 
promised." 

" He ought to see a doctor at once," the Englishman said 
aside to her, when he had put the last pin (Mrs. St. Jemison's 
pins!) in the bandage. " I don't think he's done himself 
much harm, but he has lost a little blood and the wound ought 
to be seen to. Who is yoiur mistress's doctor ? " 

Trimmer named him. She was trembling, but itching to 
get Christopher to herself. 

The bandaging was finished, but at least she could dress 
him. Like Mrs. St. Jemison before her, she fell to her knees 
beside him, and with nimble albeit shaking fingers began to 
adjust his ck>thes. The Englishman resigned him to her 
greater experience. 

" I should hke to have punched those boys," said Christo- 
pher. 

" Yon wanted to get at 'em, didn't you, little chap ? " said 
the EngUshman, smiling. " He's a plucky little devil," he 
added under his breath to Trimmer. 

Mrs. St. Jemison stood now looking on. With the coming 
of Trimmer her part seemed done. She, perhaps, could see 
that the English nurse was chafing to get her charge away 
from his surroundings. Trimmer's manner was perfectly 
respectful, but to Mrs. St. Jemison, accustomed to the looks 
of people who could not call, and to varying degrees of disap- 
proval or criticism, its significance would be patent. Trimmer 
had turned a listening eye upon her when she spoke, but had 
addressed herself only to her companion. 

" I'll take him home now, sir, thank you. T'll get a fly. I 
shall be able to manage." 

She rose to her feet and shook the dust from her skirt 






Ji 



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%Hfl 






56 



CHRISTOPHER 



Her face lifted as her eye fdl upon the piano-toner, who stood 
at the edge of the crowd. 

" Get me a fly," she said, and turned back to Christopher. 
" Say good-bye, Master Christopher, and thanlc the gentleman 
and the lady for their kindness." 

" The fly's not here yet," said Christopho'. 

" It will be in a minute, dear," she said, controlling her 
voice with difliculty. " We mustn't trouble the gentleman 
and the lady any further." 

" He oughtn't to walk, you know," said Mrs. St. Jemison to 
the EngUshman doubtfully. " He oughtn't, yon know. It 
might bring on the bleeding again." 

" You'd better let me cany you to the fly," said the 
Englishman. He addressed Christopiier, but in a manner that 
did not exclude Trimm^. 

" I'll cany him, sir, thank you " 

" No you won't. Trimmer. I won't be carried. I'll walk." 

" No, little chap, you mustn't walk." 

"Trimmer shan't cany me." said Christopher. "Why 
can't I walk ? " 

The reason was explained to him discreetly. 

" You shall cany me," he said then. 

Trimmer said nothing. The Englishman said nothing 
either, but lifted Christopher m his arms and began to walk 
with him in the direction of the Grande Rue. B(rs. St. Jemison 
walked on one side of him. Trimmer on the other. The crowd 
beg^ to disperse or followed. The workmen went back to 
their hammering. Such of the crowd as were following were 
reinforced by ne%v-comers. These came from behind the half- 
built shows or out of them, or were the casual and the passer- 
by. Trimmer's silence was palpable. Ten to one there 
wouldn't be a fly to be had for love or money, and what then ? 
Was her mistress's son to face half the length 6f the Grande 
Rue in his present company, a growing crowd following? 
The thought was intolerable. 

" If youli put him on the seat at the comer, sir, 111 
wait till the fly comes." 

" You'd better do as she wishes," Mrs, St, Jemison said in 
a knwoice. 



CHRISTOPHER 57 

" Wm you teU me something ? " Christopher was saying to 
the bronzed ear near his face. 

" Anything yon like, Bttle chap." 

" I want to know your name when 1 tell Mother." 

" My name, eh ? " 

"That's Mrs. St. Jemison I know, and her daughter's 
called Cora." 

" Oh, you know all that, do you ? " said the Englishman, 
smiling, but an odd look came into his face and he turned his 
head away a little. 

" Yes," said Christopher. " You don't mind, do von ? " 

" No, Uttle chap." 

" What's your name then ? " 

"Oh, there is a fly," said Trimmer. "There is one." 
Her eagerness was painful. 

"My name's John Hemming, Uttie chap. If I thought it 
would hurt you to know it I wouldn't tell you. Good-bye, 
and God bless you." 

He motioned to Trimmer to get in, and deposited his burden 
in her lap. Mrs. St. Jemison stood back. 

I— I am grateful to yon, sir," said Trimmer unsteadily, 
" and— and to the lady too. My mistress would wish me to 
thank you " 

The EngUshman stopped her with a gesture. 

" Put him to bed," he said. " I'll see that the doctor is 
sent to you." 

It was not till then that Trimmer burst into tears. 



i i 



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CHAPTER VIII 

CHRISTOPHER'S accident was a Uttle more serious 
than had been supposed at first. Before the fly had 
arrived at the green-shuttered house, the bleeding had broken 
out afresh. The ominous stain showed itself suddenly to be 
spreading upon what was still white of the white trousers, 
and Trimmer, in the shaking fly, improvising an urgent tour- 
niquet with her handkerchief and trembling fingers, may have 
repented her precipitancy in dismissing even damaged 
Samaritans. Christopher was half-fainting when she carried 
him up the steps. 

Cdestine's cry on beholding him — she was alwajrs ready 
to " push " cries, as we know— brought Mrs. Herrick from 
the dining-room where she bad been settling flowers. Her 
face grew as white as Christopher's. 

" Trimmer ! " she said, catching her breath. 

Trimmer hastened to reassure her. 

"Not badly. Not badly, thank God. It's the k>s8 of 
blood. He slipped of! some boards at the fair " 

Christopher opened his eyes to say, " I didn't. They 
pushed me," and closed them again as his mother's arms slid 
round him, reminding him of nursery days. 

Trimmer accepted the amendment. 

" They pushed him," she said, " — some little gamine 
his see-saw, as I understand. And a nail ran into him. He 
hadn't been out of my sight half a minute, and you'll never 
forgive me, for nice hands he'd got into — though their kind- 
ness you wouldn't believe. Oh, I'll tell you 'm by degrees. 
The first thing's to get him to bed." 

They got him to bed without loss of time, Mrs. Herrick 
wasting none in useless questions or lamentations, and, for 
something of conviction in Trimmer's tone, even accepting 
58 



CHRISTOPHER 39 

her asrannce that the doctor would be with them as soon as 
was humanly possible. Trimmer, shaken and upset, began 
to recover herself. It was strange, and significant too, how 
complete a confidence the young Englishman had inspired 
in her. Through all her antagonism she knew that she could 
trust him. Oddly enough she knew that, in this at least, she 
could have trusted Mrs. St. Jemison too. 

" If one's out," she said to herself, " he'U find another." 
and with her mind's eye could see Mr. Hemming scouring the 
town. But the doctor had not been out, and Christopher had 
barely been laid between the cool sheets before the sound of 
«4ieeb at the door told of his arrival 

From the window of Christopher's room she saw him hop 
from the fly. Its remaining occupant, with a wave of the 
hand to him and a word to the coachman, was driven off as the 
doctor's ring sounded. 

" He has been quick," said Trimmer ; but she did not mean 
the doctor. 

Bed for Christopher then, for some days it was probable. 
A bad night followed his accident. A suspicion of pdson in 
the wound and a resulting " temperature." He tossed and 
turned and conU not -'..^jp, or slept and dreamed. He was 
80 hot. Hewasbunung. He was sure he was on fire. And 
he was thirsty. Oh. not barley water. Hain water. Cold 
water. Oh, not just a little like that. A long, long drink. 

His mother was always beside him when he woke, and her 
cool hand there to put upon his burning forehead. How cool 
h was each time, till the burning of the forehead heated it. 
But it was always cod again in a moment and never tired. 
Trimmer was in and out all night too. She wanted her mis- 
tress to go to bed, but in vain. 

" For an hour 'm— just for an hour." 

" No, I'd rather stay." 

The two sat by the shaded lamp near his bed. 

Christopher, half-dozmg, heard scraps of whispered con- 
versatiwi. Trimmer was always saying, " I'll never foigive 
myself," and his mother, " Nonsense, Trimmer. How could 
you help it ? " or, " It wasn't your fault." 



'h 






6o CHRISTOPHER 

" What I conid have wanted to stop then taUdng for I It 
isn't as if— and besides. Though who could have supposed t " 

" Nobody. You're not a bit to blame." 

" But if I hadn't it wouldn't have happened." 

" Oh, nonsense and stuff," his mother would say absently. 
This many times. 

Then there was another sort of convsrsation of which Chris- 
topher, waking suddenly from a longer dozing, became aware, 
and to which I am afraid he listened, using stillness for am- 
bush, as, in its hour, he had used Granny Oxeter's big 
Bible. 

" Down on her knees in the dust 'm, and the skirt was 
embroidered six rows. Down in all the dust, and you know 
what that is when they're putting up the shows. French 
dust too, which nobody'll ever persuade me isn't dustier than 
English. But there she was, and if it had been to tear up her 
petticoat I believe she'd have done it." 

" It was wonderful. Poor, poor woman." 

Christopher wanted to ask why. 

" And me hardly speddng to her civilly, because I couMn't 
bear that she should touch him— and ready to cry too for her 
kindness. It was dreadful. I must have seemed as hard as 
hard. But inside— well, she couldn't know that. She saw. 
Oh, she saw. She was all iat stopping him and keeping out 
of it. Of course, I hardly said anjrthing, but she's had some- 
thing to put up with, anyone could tell, and to have to hurt 
her " 

" Oh, I h<^ you didn't." 

" I don't know 'm. I spoke to him 'm when I had to. Oh, 
I didn't forget my place. Nobody could say I wasn't respect- 
ful But you don't have to use words to express a attitude, 
and one part of what I wa<: feeling, she felt ; that I know. 
The other part she didn't. She'll never know, not being able 
to see my inside. It was like throwing stones at a wounded 
animal. She's not happy 'm." 

" No," said Mrs. Herrick. " How could she be ? " 

" Which makes it twenty times worse." 

" Tell me about him." The voice did not sound quite 
steady which said this. 



CHRISTOPHER 



6i 



..VT 8«nf«»e* I «h«ll never foiget," wid Trimmer, 

Never. Though why I should have made choice between 
them— speaking to him, I mean, when I had to. without a 
look if I could help it in her direction, passes my comprehen- 
sion—looking at things fair and square as I am now. Still, 
there it is. It's the woman we blame when all's said. If 
Master Christopher'd been his own son he couldn't have been 
more tender. The handkerchiefs 111 wash myself 'm. And 
proud of him like-as if he might have wished for a boy of 
his own. ' Little chap,' he called him." 

"* little chap ' I Did he?" 

" To bring the tears to your eyes 'm." 

" Oh, the poor feUow." 

Why again? 

" And all the while, under my 'ardness, I was thinking to 
myself that it would have gone hard with her to resist him, 
'm, and we don't know what she may have gone throueh. 
S'sh, 'm." J B ^ 

Trimmer held up her finger. 

" What is it ? " 

In a moment they were both leaning over the bed. 

" He isn't asleep." 

" Can't you, darling ? Can't you get to sleep ? Count 
sheep going through a gate. Or shall I sing to you ? " 

" Oh, I'm so hot," said Christopher. 

They shook up his pillows and turned them. That was 
better, wasn't it ? Yes, but only for a little while, for the cod 
pillow grew hot. It was time for his medicine then. He 
watched his mother measure it out— an Eighth Part every 
Four Hours. He had taken two Eighth Parts now, she said 
to divert him. Twice eight was sixteen. He had taken One 
Sixteenth, hadn't he ? — ^which was a great deal. 

It was Trimmer who detected the flaw in that argument. 
According to that, she said, the dose about to be taken woukl 
make One Twenty-fourth, and just look at the bottle. 

" Well, three eights are twenty-four," Mrs. Heirick began 
to say, and looked at the bottle— weU, it was the middle of the 
night I Mrs. Herrick's laugh was always good to hear, and 
Christopher laughed because she did. But his great restless- 



''.if 



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CHRISTOPHER 






new had begun again. No, the wound was not hurting hi^. 
It was only— only 

" Only what, darling; ? " 

He did not know, and was ciying. 

Then his mother sang to him as in the very early days, and 
chose Lord Lovel. 

" I want to see him," said Christopher. 

" Loid Lovel ? " 

" The Englishman— Mr. Hemming." 

That was what Mrs. Herrick had been afraid of. It was 
what Trimmer had known was inevitable. The two exchanged 
glances. 

In the early hours o^ the morning when Christopher grew 
easier, his mothei' consented at last to go to bed. Even then 
she did not sleep, but lay listening from her own room for 
sounds from his. At six Trimmer looked in to tell her that 
he was sleeping comfortably, and she suffered herself to close 
her eyes. But she did not sleep much even then. At eight 
she was with him once more. 

It was a knrely morning. The sun streamed through the 
window on to Qiristopher's bed, and with it came sounds 
from the bu^ street. The sound of the emptying of water 
was never long absent from such sounds. Boulogne gutters 
must flow with soapy water, as Boulogne housewives must 
scour and scrub. The cry of the coal came in and the cry of 
the shrimps ; other cries, some of them ugly : Iilme L^^ue, 
who lived over the coach-house, and dnmk, screaming for 
Alphonse or Louise ; a carter swearing at an overladen 
horse ; but for the most part the pleasant sounds of life and 
a workaday world. 

Christopher, awJce now, washed and comfortable in a 
clean nightshirt and a newly-made bed, his rumpled hair 
brushed and combed, lay still and received languid impres- 
sions. Trimmer had " settled " him and given him his 
breakfast, and had now left him to make her; own toilet and 
break her own fast. 

A solicitous Am3ie in temporary charge of him surrendered 
him to^er mistress. 



CHRISTOPHER 



63 



" I descend now," she stkl, " to nuke monnt Madame'a 
tea." 

His mother heightened the feeling of sunshine in the room. 
She wore a cradding calico dresshig-gown wMch was all over 
little green sprigs, and her hair was in the long plaits by which 
he used to drive her when he was smaller. She drew him 
into her crackling arms. 

"You're better, darling. You're better, thank God." 

Yes, he was better. 'Riere was no doubt of that. His 
chjeks were no longer flushed, and h^< eyes no longer shone 
feverishly. The hot, dreadful night was over, and he only 
felt tiled. 

" You had a nice breakfast ? " 

He nodded. 

" I wasn't very hungry. I don't like dry toast very much, 
and I'd have liked tea." 

" MUk, dariing.'s better for feverish little boys. We want 
the doctor to find you much better when he comes." 

" Is he coming again ? " 

"Yes, darling." 

" Am I gtring to be ill long 7 " 

" No, dearest, I hope not. I tUnk not. Why ? " 

Christopher traced the pattern of one of the green sprigs 
with his finger. The sprigs were little bunches of myrtle tied 
with love-knots of pink ribbon. 

" Why did you keep saying ' Poor ' last night if you don't 
like them ? " 

" Poor ? " 

" About thetH. When Trimmer was telling you. You said 
' Poor, poor woman,' and then you said ' Poor fellow.' And 

Trimmer was beastly to them — at least, not beastly but 

I don't know. Anyway, she hates them. She won't let me 
even say ' There's Mrs. St. Jemison,' when we see her on the 
Sands ; she says * 'Ush, Master Christopher '—and her diess 
was all over dust where she knelt on it— Mrs. St. Jemison's, 
I mean — and I bled on his trousers where he held me. I saw 
the mark and he didn't say anything, though it was as big 
as half a franc." 

There was a moment's pause before Mrs. Herrick spoke. 



^^1 



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64 CHRISTOPHER 

ChrbttvlMr traced the ontUiie (rf a wbola qirig on the ttudMd 
dreMhig-gown. 

" He teem* to heve been very veiy Und to yon," the MkL 
" I shall never iorget it to Urn— to either of them. Trimmer 
doew't hate them really " 

" Not inside, pertiape," intermpted Christopher, " bat yon 
can't see faiside. She said so last night I heard her. And 
oittside she was offended all over." 

Mrs. Herrick smiled in spite of herself, so aptly did Chris- 
topher seem to her to have expressed Trimmer and her atti- 
tude. Ofiended all over. She could see Trimmer straightened, 
rigid, offended all over I 

" She thanked them, dear. She did thank them. She said 
ttiat I should wish her to thank them." 

Christopher clung tb his point. 

" I wouMn't let her carry me," he said. " She only wanted 
to prevent him. She wanted to get me away all the time." 

Mis. Herrick looked at her son's remonstrant face, and 
did not answer immediately. The laughter left her eyes. 

" Trimmer was in a very difficult position," she said, when 
sheqwke. " I can't explain to you. You do trust me, don't 
you, Christopher? Well, you must just take what I am 
going to say without understanding it. There are reasons 
why we can't be friends with Mrs. St. Jeroison and Mr. Hem- 
ming. Very sad reasons. You will understand one of these 
days, and you will know that we couldn't help it. The reasons 
make it impossible for us to know them. No one realises this 
better than they do themselves. They know, Christopher." 

" But you like them, or you wouldn't have said 
' Poor." " 

" I am sorry for them both. Things might have been so 
different. Yes, I do like them, I must, for thdr goodness 
to my son." 

" They'll never know," said Christoi^er. " It's inside 
you're sorry. It's inside you like them. And they can't see 
inside. Even Trimmer said that. They won't know you're 
sMiy. They'll think you hate them like Trimmers-even if 
she doesn't hate them. And she knelt down in all the dust, 
and I bled on his trousers." 



CHRISTOPHER «, 

_^topher wMkened by recent Im of blood and the men 
recent feven of the ni^t, bunt into tem. 

" They;" «wv«- know," he sobbed. " They can't know 
« we don't teU them. If. dre«ifnl to «em hSrrid to pSJ 
when you love them, and I love him better than any^ 
exwyt you-««i_Md Pierre, and Pierre', dead. l^Wrt 

^ ^A^-r "^J^ P""**" "■• »•" ««*• ««> «♦ -^ hurt. 
Md I dWn t ay, and he «id I wa. plucky. But .t wasn't 
tnat. It wa. bffamc " 

" Becauw what, dear ? " 

" Because I wouldn't have minded how mnci ;. hun n,c 
and he'll never know. He'U never know." 

Mrs. Hwrick's arms closed more tightly rcu^id hi, , (iib 
tear, wet the sprigi on her dressing-gown-took tlir- " sfaith " 

comfort. But he would not be comforted. In her he- sh. 

was proud of him. Her boy wa. a gentieman 

'You mustn't cry. Christopher. Yon-fl m^ yonnclf iU 

J^Lif^"^ '"**':'■ "he'swhatltakehimtobe-what 
I dobelteve him to be-he'U understand. I know what you 

fe^HUul I am glad to think that my boy doe. feel in tU. 
way. 

Christopher shook his head. 

^You know, because I've toU you. but I haven't told 

He refused to be comforted. 



i!:i; 






CHAPTER IX 



IN the end it came that a strange hour fonnd Mis. 
Henick writing a difficult letter. Christopher was not 
malting such progress towards recovery as, considering his 
youth and the nature of his illness, he should have made, and 
something not unlike anxiety began to threaten the green- 
shuttered house. Mrs. Herrick would not admit that there 
was cause, or that thae was likely to be r-,ase, for anything 
so unnerving, so terrible ; but the hour came all the same 
when she wrote to John Hemming. It might have surprised 
Christopher to know that her letter, though after tong deliber- 
ation, began " Dear John." 

She took no one into her confidence but Trimmer, who was 
to find out where he was staying, and thither convey the 
letter to him. In the circumstances there was i>o one that 
she could consult. Her mother, to be sure, was largely tole- 
rant, and, within limits, was always for living and letting live. 
She had fewer of the arbitrary prejudices of her time than 
most people, and would, at least, have seen that there were 
two sides to a question. With her, Mrs. Herrick would gladly 
have talked out her intention. But of her sisters, Laura 
and Catherine, good timid creatures, inclining, o! weakness, 
to rigid orthodoxy and to interminable discussions, she could 
not be sure. They had not thought that she should even 
write to Mrs. St. Jemison to thank her, when she returned 
the handkerchiefs. It was in deference to their high-pitched 
opinion that she had so far compromised as to write imper- 
sonally, in the character, that is, of the Mother of the Little 
Boy who met with an Accident, and to whom the Lady and 
Gentleman, whose Handkerchiefs she was returning, had been 
so very Kind ; but her own inclination would have been to 
write in her own name and take her chance of embarrassing 
consequences. 



CHRISTOPHER ^ 

Mrs. St. Jemison had an apartment in the Rue Radne 

Ew^body knew that, and it was there that Trimmer had taken 
the first letter, dropping it into the box after dark, and hurry- 
tag away as fast as her virtuous legs would carry her. But 
Mta, St Jemison, it seemed, if she had thrown her cap over 
the wtodmill had some regard to appearances and had no 
ttonght of throwing her two dainty shoes in its wake Mr 
Hemnung, so Trimmer discovered, was to be found no neare^ 
to his lady 8 bower than the Hotel des Deux Mondes, a good 
quarter of a mile away, on the Port. There, having run him 
to earth— the piano-tuner aiding her— she deUvered her 
letter. 

Mademoiselle would wait the reply ? 

"No, thank you," said Trimmer, with a significant look 
at her attendant, whom nevertheless she promptly dismissed 
before hurrying away on the feet of the prudent. Her attitude 
was stnctly non-committal. She neither disapproved nor 
approved of her mistress's action. Something had to be done 
-«) much was clear. Master Christopher, as the days passed 
was not picking up his strength, and had taken an " idMi*' 
into his curly head. Master Christopher mattered more than 
anyone or anything else under the sun, but . . . 

Impossible for Trimmer, with her training anil her instinc- 
bve prejudices, to eliminate the Buts which crowded upon 
her exwtised mind. It-the wisdom of the move-was Mit 
Might be. She could go no further than that. 

koA so to the sum of his young impressions Christopher 
^ded Mother. He would always remember the Wonderful 
Visit. It was like the visit of Pierre and Jean to his bedside, 
on the night long ago of their arrival, when the greatly desired 
bad Happened ; like other things, " surprises " for the most 
part, but, perhaps, for the ardour with which he welcomed 
It, like nothing else at all. 

It was late in the afternoon of the day on which Trimmer 
Md been sent on a mysterious errand, about which he had 
been vaguely curious, when the beU of the front door was 
beard to ring. His mother, in a muslin dress, also with qjrfgs 



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CHRISTOPHER 



upon it, was reading to Iiim, and something in tlie way she 
brolce o& to listen arrested his attention. It was liaU-past 
six by the doclc on the mantelpiece. Only intimate visits in 
the ceremonious seventies were paid so late in the afternoon. 

" Who at that hour ? " his mother's expression said plainly, 
yet with a tag which escaped him and may have been tlie 

"Unless " which, in the circumstances, it probaUy 

was. 

His grandmoth'jr had called earlier, and his two aunts— 
his Aunt Laura in a new hat which, it had been agreed at 
some length, did not become her, and which, as she could 
" conscientiously " be said hardly to have worn it, she was 
going to " take back to the shop." Unless in connection with 
this anything had happened to make further consultation 
necessary, it was imjirobable that a second visit would be 
paid that evening by any member of the family. Who, then ? 
The doctor had taken Christopher upon his morning round. 

Cdestine could be heard answering the summons. 

Christopher looked at his mother. She was sitting with 
the book^open upon her knee, listening intently. 

Together they listened. 

" Who do you think it is ? " Christopher whispered, though, 
as his room was on the second floor, there was no very urgent 
reason for lowering the voice. Was it something in the 
moment that asked for whispers ? 

Someone was being shown up to the drawing-roc»n. CSesr 
tine's foot was on the stairs. It surprised Christopher a little 
that, instead of waiting till Cfiestine reached the door, his 
mother put down the book and went to meet her at the top 
of the stairs. He did not hear what Cdettine said, but he 
heard her go down. 

To his surprise, and even a little to his indignation also, 
his mother followed her without coming back to hna. He 
heard her open and close the door of the drawing-room. 

It seemed a long time before any further sounds reached 
him from below. No one had remembered even to send 
Trimmer to him. He lay still and looked at the ceiling. And 
at the waU-paper. And at the window. He was very tired 



CHRISTOPHER 



Nottfaatitmatterad. 



of being in bed. Who was downstaiis ? 
He liated visitors. 

His toys were where he conld get at them, but he did not 
turn in thar ctoection. He felt as at the dreaiy time which 
hadfoUowed the departure of the young soldiers. Nothine 
interested him wry much. A soUtary fly was stationary^ 
the ceding. It did not even walk about to amuse him The 
waU-paper had rosebuds and ribbons upon it, but no Wids 
to chase buttoAes as on the Cheltenham paper, to which he 
sent a regretful thought flying. The window was not nev 
enough to see out of. 

And then in five minutes everything had changed-^othimr 
actuaUy for the fly, which was dead, remained stationam 
the waU-paper produced no birds or butterflies, the distant 
wmdow showed him no more than its patch of sky— but 
eveiything, everything ! There was the sudden sound of the 
diawwg-room door being opened. This, accoriing to pre- 
cedMt, should mean departure. There was a sound of voices 
on the stau:s-going down ? not going down ; coming his 
way l-his mother's and another voice. It was the sound of 
fte second which raised Christopher's head from its pillow. 
His heart beat wildly under his little nightshirt. 

" Somebody has come to see you," said his mother, appear- 
mg at the door. *^ 

" Mr. Hemming ! " said Christopher. 

Had the fountains of life been stayed, so that they flowed 
sluggishly, grudgingly? the healing juices been withheU? 
It seemed so. For it was presently manifest, that from the 
moment Christopher had unburdened his soul of its debt of 
gratitude-unburdened it, rather, of the suspicion of ingiati- 

^i^J^u'^^ '^ *° ^ 'y^' ^« ^"^ to "«=nd. iVw^ 
as if the blood he had spilled flowed back into his veins, per- 
mitting nature to do its beneficent work. 

John Henuning, sitting by the bed and hearing Chris- 

opher s blushing mcoherences about what Christopher had 

thou^t he must think, understood-had understood, it 

seemed, aU along. Mrs. Herrick, standing at the foot of the 



ii 



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TO 



CHRISTOPHER 



bed in her pretty sprigged mosHn, watched him as he le- 
assmed her breathless little son with " Little Chaps " (as 
Trimmer had said of them, to bring tears to your eyes !), and 
a deli^tfol smile, and the pressure of the kindest hand tiiat 
ever showed breeding and strength. 

She had not done unwisely, whatever the aunts and even 
Trimmer might think. But oh, John Hemming, who had 
once wanted to many her I and oh, the pity of eveiy- 
thingl 



CHAPTER X 

r'^?^^^.^™^' """^ J°^ Hemming may be said 

V_/ mdn-ectly, or even directly, to have helped him to 
recoyeiy^was not destined to add many impressions of that 
elusive lAysiaan to his eager store. Those that he did add 
were pm^. Why, after the intimate talk in his room did 
his new fnend recede to an even greater distance than that 
at which Christopher had viewad him in the days before the 
^dent, when he had been not Mr. Hemming at all, but the 
Enghshman who looked so much nicer than anyone else at 
Boulogne, and over whom, for Christopher, by reason of a 
mj^tenons connection with the beautiful lady, who could 
m)t be called upon by the stuiiy groups, there shone aU the 
gtoiy of suspected romance ? Things happened--or rather, 
did not happen. For the friendly pressure of his hand he 
gave the httle boy the b;ire8t nod of recognition when Chris- 
topher waved to him across a road ; and he did not stop, 
ttough he must have seen that Christopher meant to elude 
Trunmer Md run over to him. This was bewildering, even 
when you had been warned that something of the sort must 
happen But worse fdlowed : meeting Christopher with 
his mother ahnost face to face in the street, he did not appear 
to see either of them— looked straight before him > 

Chnstopher, withdrawing an outstretched hand and 
chilled to the marrow, looked at his mother. Her eyes were 
OT diop wmdows. He could hardly restrain his tears. 
Did he make his friends only to lose them ? He was too young 
for the thought to take shape. But there was Pierre-dead 
and there had been and there was not. John Hemming. His 
poor littie heart was very full that day. No sun or open sea 
or quays or gutters could ease it. 

But life scurried on— which may have been by grown-up 
71 



.!''li 



1* 



CHRISTOPHER 



■JMgwient A. there lud been no time to grieve for poor 

Kto^' ShT S*^JS!^' *° ?e relief o* one exercised 
W^dLn™?oi!'..'^!?^' •• *^ «""P *°»Jd have told 
iTth. "^PI*^"** *»«» Boulogne-(le»vi^, it is probable 
m tte ordinary way; though the^upTSivi^ rite^!^* 

S^^^.^iSf '^' ''^* • «*»*• Whether the 
"^«nws were traceable ever w indirectly to the effect of 
recent events upon one frora whom, whatevw hiT^ 
«jm^ you would look somehow fo; nice S^^^t t^t 
^Z, !j;y- Christopher's mother may hav^ ie^own 

XTbla^'^r.rr '^iT'f^ ''^^■ 
^^ that the Zr^l-^ r - S^- ^^ 

wiS'fj*?*.'°°*if'^''°I**''°^»«'PP«°«d- ll>e world 
^!if u"^*°'y- ^'^^ *«e schoolboysfor the tidird^D 

tons-pmshments even : excitements such as he h^ never 
faiown. He hated it aU for a week, and then sffll hatfru 
S Tl W^ *° ^y**"^ ^^''^^Hy. yo« m^st hate S 

K«^ aL^ k"*T"* ''*^* « '»«"«»y to Wm, like 
Kwre About whom he had yet loved; Mri St.T^ison 
also ; he no longer wondered about Cora •* 

It was then that, if he had been old enough to observe his 
»oth«- as she, of her k>ve, observed Um, h! n^ht W « 

MTo II. wnat i She herself hardly knew So securp h^ 
i^^ATf r *^ backwater tat^- wWch^ S 
^"^^IV'^: barque, that itwas^ot tiU somJtS 
Mdpa^ after the waters had been troubled, that she 

SiSJ^d Th'^T^^'""* ^ "^ P'"*- She had her 
■•WPW and Chnstopher. There was not a day that a 



CHRISTOPHER 



7i 



"bwt from her active^w„!^**-S'"' "P'"''^ "™«« was 
of John Hemming hXSS^ht ^' ^'''' °-erthele«. 

the incomprehentible^ b^^K°l''?*"-P«*ai» even of 
loved, and^she C^.^ZCt- t. "^""^f- ^''^ •>«» 
dse- Yet, because of tuZ^ U ^^^'l '°ved anyone 
n>w«r. out of the past which hJdtJi ^l^^^ f~Jobn Hem- 
totroubleher. He sto<^7o t^fS^^e 1*^*^' ^"^ *« Power 
back in reality !_which h^leen ft W V".^""^ * *^ 
A sense of defencelessness ^ h^' w *^' *!"* °' '*'^«- 
^te, too disproportionaWy^e oT"smSt„°K*^ *°° '*" 
»Pon a woman's heart ? Tw^«n[ • *** ^""^ "^ «««* 
?nd a provincial townl wroXht^ f f. **^ '""• ^° ^'V- 
just to cause its pulses toT^t T *1*^* ^^^^^ exdtement 
have been ? The ^d S/f ,*"' "^ ^"'^^ as the case may 
?at its part in contSbuS^ ^~t'^ *"*' "''"-• "aJ 
th«nsel^ as symbols of^L^^j^^y°^ soldiers 
rest m them and theirs in ^7 T ^'^topher's inte- 
P»t up for him. in ^ %^7^ ""f^^ '^'^ *h«y had 
or women's. . . . litew.^^ °' tinfamiliar voices 
•m. like a man in the^" ^r^' ''"^^ after all, 

to wSr^rrm'^^ritTert^r-^^^^'^-- 

dance. The sturdy 3^ i^ ^f ^'"[^ thoughts must 

rightnes^upSei ev2 Zrt'?^ °* ^^- Down- 
r^dl airs of Wven^'^'^^^S '-for subUeties. The 

m the house in short" It wt H^A?^- ■• The man 

^ZlVTj Sin^he^^ jf ^e <>' 'ove had 

Shehad thought he.^uS^deJ'l'v It «""«''* ^"^ «^«- 
from the eager life of youtT, Sen^^ tt !m*"'' ''"^ ^"«*' 
the sight of one who had m« wlnf^ ^ ^'"^^ " '"^^ but 
belonged to another ly^oZ^J" '"J^ b« (^d now 
' one. unchanged, boyish-looking 



.;] 



'r 

* '18 



74 



CHRISTOPHER 



•tin, in spite c>f expciienoet which might have been txjpttAed 
to sober him, ^o tdl her that, at not much more than thirty, 
■he too was young. It was frightening. 

Christopher, naturally, saw nothing. Little boys do not 
•ee. There was little, moreover, to see, so that even Trimmer 
taw nothing. Mr. Hemming; to her was an attractive stranger, 
that was all, of whom sh knew nothing more than that he 
was (because he must be '^ something of a scapegrace, by 
reason of which, in admitti p. ^im at all to the house, a risk 
had assuredly been run. S. , did not know, for Mrs. Henick 
did not tell her, that he ' as not a stranger at all. 

Mrs. Oxeter may have guessed something. She had been 
told, of course, long ance of the young man's visit, and had 
not disapproved, though Christopher's aunts, duly informed 
of it at the same time— after the event, as we know— shook 
their heads. She knew more, however, than they, and had 
the two and two in her possession which had but to be put 
together to make visible four. She alone knew, perhaps, 
why Christopher's mother, who had never been of the kind 
to speak of her conquests, had fallen into silence when Birs. 
St Jemison was mentioned. Oh yes, Mrs. Oxeter may have 
gaeiied. 

" As likely as not she reproaches herself," she thought, 
searching her daughter's face for what it was exactly that 
she fancied had come into it Utely, "—as Ifltely as not she 
thinks she's to blame for his lapses." 

The house seemed suddenly to have grown silent. It was 
because Christopher was at school It was because— because 
of a hundred tha^. Trimmer was sometimes sent for to 
bring her work to the drawing-room, or Mrs. Herriek would 
take hers to the " nurseiy " where Trunmer still sat 

" I miss him more than I can say." 

" So do I, 'm." 

" Even his troublesomeness." 

Trimmer would not hear that Christopher was, m could 
be, tronblesomi;. 

It was more than ever a house ai women. Much sewuig 
WM done. Mrs. Heirick would help Trimmer-asking for 

WOnU 



CHRISTOPHER yj 

It wu " Here, Trimmer, let me do that," or " Conldn't 
" x^ *^ ?°°' ■'■"«»«« ' You Jbw I CM hem I " or 
grimmer, if there's any darning to do I feelln the mood 

Christopher's absences were explanation enough for good 
Trimmer, who felt at a loose end herself. But explanations 
were excuses, for all tiiat, and Mrs. Herrick knew it. Little 

r^5!?* ^1" ^** '**°°' ^° ""^ ''«»'' f« very many hours. 
Christ^hw-s absences were not so protracted as reaUy to 
have left the day empty. 

snddMly, out of the suence which hitherto she had pr«- 

" I ? " said Christopher's mother. 

It was a new idea to her. Moreover, she still looked upon 
Boukgne itsdf as "change," foigetting how long she had 
be«ni there. Change-of air, understood-always meant in 
domestic parknce. Sea Air ;-if , of course, it did not mean 
Wang Abroad — and Boulogne was both. 

Mn. Oxeter watched her. 

Lama and Catherine were out, and her favourite daughter 
and At w«e alone in the Race MoUdre. How pret^ she 
•as, the old woman thought rather anxiously. 

" What makes you thi^ ? " 

" My dear, I'm your mother." 

" But I'm not ill." 

"No. dew." 

" Then why ? " 

l'^'*"'* y°"^'" said M.'s- Oxeter shortiy. 
Mamma!" 

Tlwe wu " How did you know ? " in Use t«Me. She 

was startted-scared even. Was her own discovery tiieie in 

teface for otiiers to read ? She looked about her a littie 

The odd ornaments of the period filled the room. There 
was a hanging screen— a banner worked in Berlin witJs— 
sawed to til. mantelpiece. Upon tiie mantdpieee were 
swms handsome Dresden figures, bat eadi was under a eiass 
sfiade. There were antiinacassars on tile backs of tile djakT 



76 



CHRISTOPHER 



■Ibiima on the Ubfet ; beaded footttooU on the floor. There 
were things like these in the house in the Rue GU Bias. A 
foRual period in which to malce any discoveries I The si^t 
of these familiar things did not have the efiect of calming 
her wholly. Was she ahready out of key with them 7 Her 
mother in her cap with the mauve ribbons fitted perfectly 
into her surroundings, hallowed them even, gave them 
point. 

" Ob. I wish I were like you," she said. 

" Towards the end because you find you have not passed 
the beginning ? " 

She had not known that she was going to speak. 

" I've got Christopher," she heard herself saying, in a low 
voice, " and I have Christopher's father, even if he's dead. 
He isn't dead to me. I've never stopped thinking about him. 
I watch Christopher growing, for both of us. I've never seen 
him in a new suit without thinking what Kit would have 
thought nt it. I am growing him up, as it were, for his father 
— under his father's eyes I've sometimes thought. It hasn't 
been duty ; it's been love— live love I tell you. Mother. And 
now at the sight of someone I haven't seen for years and only 
cared for then as a friend, and never loved, I find myself no 
stronger than any silly schodgirL" 

Ifrs. Oxeter did not speak. She was crocheting an anti- 
macassai^-which was what women of all ages did then for 
the occupation of their hands and thoughts — exchanging 
patterns with one another, learning or teaching new stitches — 
and she went on with her work, though it is doubtful whether 
her eyes could see it. 

" It's dreadful," Christopher's mother said, " dreadful." 

" It isn't even that I cai-e now," she continued, after a 
pause, during which she stiove to oontrc! herself. " When 
I knew— when I read it all in the papers, I mean, it 
seemed so far of! that it hardly concerned me. Even when 
I realised suddenly that they were here. Why, when I saw 
them together for the first time, it only gave me a little shock 
— nothing that I couldn't bear. I kept out of their way, that 
was all, and it seems that I was able to do this effectually, 
tot be never saw me — be didn't expect to, you see — and he 



CHRISTOPHER 



Sh« broke o«, sobbing now in earnest Mri n~» 
her work adde and It fcU to the fl^ ;i, I ^"** P"*«* 
She leant forward bntrfw 1* "«"■■«>«« to lie unheeded. 
" VtT iZ: ^ ° ""* """^e ft»m her chair 
4"u^I" fhir^^" Christopher's moth« said. 
genUy "°""^ *° ^ ""^^ °''' Mn.. Oxeter said 

Christopher's mother shook her head '■ Kit', k-j ^ j 
makes no difference—" " * "^^ 'J'^^ 

" Ah, my dear, my dear ! " 
" It doesn't." 

Anne Herrick nodded 

" v!^* ^^J""^'" *** "^ brokenly. 

something of m«S^ rv™^ !^ '"*°''* ^"'^ 
sp2C to'S&Jf'* °^ "^ t''^ ««"> which was 

".ilS^^y!^? £rtT^-" -^'^ "^^^^'^ 

But somehow because of him." 



f. M 



■ i 

j 1 



01 

1« 






:!« 



Mictocory risoiution tbt chart 

(ANSI and ISO TEST CHART No. 2) 




/APPLIED IIVHGE Inc 

1653 Cost Main Strwt 

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78 



CHRISTOPHER 



" Yes— other things helping." 

" I know. It's jtist youth, dear, as I said fiist. 
t 5 know you were young." 

' ' ii " It's dreadful," said Christopher's mother. 

" Not dreadful," said hers pityingly. 



You didn't 



I I 



II 






CHAPTER XI 

A'^n^Xt'' 't."^:' '^^ *^**- Nothing hap- 
jtlpened. What could ? She had not a thought of lo^ 
Henmung as an individual. He stood to hn- nnh7f„, ?l ^ 

siono'wS;isTli:i*'*^^''''^°^<^'^- Anadmis- 
It could not be yet because of Christopher whose ^t»M^ 

^^ ; but did not ask yet, keeping the plea^^^^^ 
eve^lnr" ^"^^ ^'^' ^- «>« *<«ening days Tie 

and associ^^ttS ^^^^Z U^ *=K?"»?t«« 

* "°^' * ^^^^- There were magazines, too, to the 
79 



i 



kll 



So 



CHRISTOPHER 



appearing of which people with time on their hands or even 
without, looked forward from month to month. So early a 
recollection of Christopher's was the yellow cover of Comhill 
and an advertisement of Somebody's Invalid Chairs intimately 
connected with it — two footmen carrying a lady upstairs — 
that there did not seem to be a time when that periodical had 
not a place in his life. We may suppose Christopher's mother, 
who had doubtless in their day followed the Adventures of 
Philip on His Way through the World, immersed about this 
period in those of Harry Richmond. Wonderful days. She 
was not unhappy. Change ? Yes, later, perhaps ; in the 
holidays. 

Yet with no fear now of encountering disturbance on her 
walks she knew that she had been unhappy. It had been 
unnetTfng to know you might meet unrest at every comer. 
If Christopher had felt dismayed at the sight of an averted 
head, what of her who had decreed that it must be so averted I 
She had the double pain— nay, the treble. The knowledge 
that the coast was clear had not freed her at first, but now she 
was free. 

She took long walks— with Christopher on half-holidays ; 
often abne ; occasionally with Trimmer, who, though she was 
not country-bred, liked to step out. The aunts were not for 
more than pottering. A walk to them was to a shop in the 
town, or to the end of the Port and back, or with an effort the 
top of the Grande Rue and a quarter of a mile of the Petits 
Arbrcs under the Ramparts. The Ramparts they thought 
k>nely, dangerous even, as perhaps, indeed, they were ; and 
the long stretch of the autumn sands too windy. It was 
never too windy for Christopher's mother. 

So the time passed. If the lonely walk seemed purposeless 
she called in thoughts of Christopher to help her— -the snug 
evening, the lamp, the fire, the book. With glowing cheeks 
and sparkling eyes she would come back to her son and her 
fireside. 

How think of your troubles — ^how have troubles when 
there was Christopher? He was growing visibly. Every 
day was declared to make a difference. People began to say 
of him to her that he must be becoming a companion — " quite 



CHRISTOPHER 



to school inTam^t ,„^ *k **"^,*»y» ^e would have to go 

that. Well, not yS ^ **° ''"*• ''"* *»"« <'«y '«• aU 

•" ?S Jd?" ''°" ""^ *° «° *° =°8'»<J *«r Christmas ? " 

pi,»iUtxSt,^"^--«-- 

London," said his mother 
Mummy ! " 

n%Sx?ot^.S;-^rui3^^^^^^^^ 

Street-the lodges f/dJ^^fc^' *" '"^SW in Ebuiy 
and where he3?o iatSi ^'I'lt^ '**^^.'" "^ ""^ 
their waywaid course in ^^"Jr™ "^ *^* ''^^ »<>* taken 

jat.he h^ re^::^z^^Xz z'oTr^ 

A misty basement tn urht,^ >, u J ^ ~ ""e •>' th 

cap, who sang " Father rt^fTf? *"'^* "" * «'-^Py 
now," and la^e Trkn^^ fT ?^' ~'"* ''°'»« ""'th me 

upon a glowinc fire An^ *^* '''*'* ^«**le which sat 






Ml 



H 






I 



8a CHRISTOPHER 

" Oh 'm, really ? " she said. 

Mrs. Herrick smiled. 

" I think so. We're going to think about it, anyway. 
Don't you think, perhaps, a little change would be good for 
us aU ? " ° 

" Yes, yes, yes," shouted Christopher. 

" It would be nice 'm," said Trimmer. " Oh 'm, EngBsh 
bacon again ! Only think." 

" Why, we have that here." 

" And made, as it were, into a regular ^W " (Tiimm-jr said 
plar) "in the cooking. No. English bacon cooked by a 
Christian, I mean. Oh'm! And— and a muffin I To be sure 
there's Gregory's, 'm, and 'Owe's. But a London muffin, 
with the bell going down the street. Oh 'm ! " 

" I see we shall have to go," said Mrs. Herrick. 

After that for Christopher and for Trimmer it was counting 
the days. Rans matured rapidly enough. The time was 
fixed for the week before Christmas. Christmas itself was to 
be spe.it at Herrickswood with Christopher's ot'ier grand- 
^ mother, who, informed of the projected visit, issued an 
" invitation wliich amounted to a command. Herrickswod 
first, then, with a night in London on the way, and, then 
(Herrickswood appeased), an unfettered fortnight of London : 
such were the plans which took form while days were marked 
off a nursery calendar— crossed out with wetted pencil -and 
water ran under the bridges. Christmas is Coming, sang 
Trimmer, as, in their several hours, she had sung " Rocked in 
the Cradle of the Deep," and the inflammatory Marseillaise ; 
Christmas will be here before we know where we Are. 

We're going to England, to England, to England, sang 
Christopher ; and even his mother's heart sang Change. 

" You'll have to be very good at Grandmamma Her- 
rick's." 

" I don't mind," said Christopher. He was ready to promise 
anjrthing. 

Trimmer was best company now. She was going home 
for a few days in the couise of the visit, and she never 
tired of telling of Birmingham, where her parents lived. 



CHRISTOPHER 



83 
. — ^ , London, but 

through that at nX Trim,^' %""^''* *^^ Sasp. To^ 
Birmingham sav fnd wT f '^''' ^ *^« t«in--betweS 

far, out of the SestTou L^lf '"^ ^^^J? fl«"e- Near^ 
She didn't suppose tt^^^^!'*'^e great furnaces breathing. 

|4tt^-^-^----^^i^ 

these being trimmed :Sl^MP''f * "^^y ?'«»*"« to^S 
like clock (fSing n t?d r^ ''!?' *° •* ^°"«d "P 

Many of them. The streets, anywav " 
It wasn't so wonderful then ^ '^^ 

„J^t like here," said Christopher 

nigh^h, there-s^lThi^^XTn^- ^m ^ ^ ^— '« 

he said to his aunte. " y°" *'^«n ^ <^^ back," 

" No doubt, darling." 
" Don't you wish you- ■" 

«itwasn'tsocold."hisAuntLaurasaid. "Atanyother 



'111 



111 



^ 



'-. 1 



84 CHRISTOPHER 

time of year," hb Aunt Catherine. They, poor ladies, were 
indifierent sailon. 

The time drew nearer and near. It was the week after 
next; it was next week ; this; it was to-morrow I Chiisto- 
pher was up with the lark— the winter lark, anyway. 

It was very cold, and it was going to be rou^. Everyone 
said so. The aunts, who came down to see the travellers off, 
were congratulating themselves in earnest that they were not 
going. TTiey hoped every few moments that their sister and 
Christopher, and Trimmer also, were well wrapped up. 

" Have you rugs ? " said Vaa Oxeter. 

" Has he enough over his chest ? " asked Hiss Catherine. 

" Plenty of rugs— the woolly one and my big plaid. Christo- 
pher's all right, aren't you, dear ? " 

They chose their places on deck. Mrs. Herrick was a fair 
sailor — ^more or less safe, as she said, if she had air and might 
keep still. Christopher had yet to prove his mettle. Trimmer, 
who wanted a day to get her sea legs, preferred, on the whole, 
to go below. 

"It's different firom India," she explained cryptically. 
Christopher, in his " reefer " coat, stumped about the deck 
and made friends with the sailors. He was enormously 
intei'ested in everything. The Paris train came in, and the 
packet filled up with hurrying laden folk with anxious eyes 
on the weather. 

" It's gotag to be very rough," Christopher assured an old 
lady who seemed unable to get an answer to her questicm. 

" Oh, you horrid little boy 1 " she said smiling. 

" You'll see," said Christopher politefy. 

Like Trimmer, she went below. People made for the best 
places, held, or surrendered them. The timid and the un- 
certain—or perhaps too certain— laid themselves out and 
closed their eyes. In the saloon, into which Christopher 
peeped on his voyages of discovery, there was already the 
smell of brandy. It was pleasant to get back into the air. 
Then a bell rang and his aunts made thdr hurried adieux. 
The last passenger scrambled on board, the gangways were 
drawn up, and they were off. 



CHRISTOPHER 



85 



The piers slid by them. 
It was Ho ! for old EngUnd. 

It was then that Christopher's mother asked henelf Whv > 
In heaven's name, now that the danger w ^ow-inK 

and the name of everything else that m^t bT^TS 

SS^I..*' "^ °f woman and hi inSl-SS a.5 
unfathomable worlangs : Why ? Why ? Why ? 



.1 V 



■w 






-J ■* h 



CHAPTER XII 



CHRISTOPHER, sobered at first by the vny distressing 
sights which he saw about liim after the bar had been 
crossed, had gravitated to his mother's side, and there en- 
sconced himself comfortably under the large shawl which was 
known as the " plaid," from its odd sponge-bag pattern. 
There he stayed quiet for some time with the wind and spray 
playing on his chubby face. One by one people about him 
were led below, or staggered to the companion-ladder in a 
nameless race with time. When, however, he experienced 
no feelings of discomfort himself, and could thus be quite 
sure that he was not going to be ill, his energies took him to 
his feet again. He went and watched the engines, and the 
water churned by the paddle-wheels, and the great waves 
which were doing such dire work amongst the passengers. 
He would have gone below to see how Trimmer was getting 
on, but that his mother, with some comprehension of what 
Trimmer's feelings might be just then, had told him she 
thought Trimmer would rather be left alone. It turned out 
afterwards that she had divined Trimmer's state only too 
accurately. Mrs. Herrick herself hoped, and expected, to be 
able to hold out. 

Christopher, rather proud of himself, paced the deck with 
the hardy and intrepid, or stood amongst those who kept a 
look-out, caps pulled down over their eyes and their ulsters 
flapping round them. Beads of spray were on the rough nap 
of his coat, and on his face, as he could see others upon the 
clothes and faces, the beards and moustaches of those about 
him. His lips were salt. Little sea-bom boy, he felt entirely 
at home. The pulsing of the engines was in his ears as not 
so long ago, though he had no knowledge of this, it had smitten 
on the unheeding ears of his babyhood. Every loose thing 
flapped for his pleasure — ^his handkerchief when he drew that 
86 



CHRISTOPHER 



87 
from hi. pocket to wipe tlie .pray from his eyes • the sailor.' 
riUdns; a newspaper caught on a rail; a^ ''.^u SL 
^ noi«. of the stnuning ve«d wer; for h,. ejlne^t 

I^^K Si"^'' protesting sound from thi funnel wW^ 

ST'thJ^LSi^'^"^- "-asifhe-srxai:: 

Hi«'*T'*/iJ°^* *° ^^- Someone held him up once to see the 
chfc. but that wasn't the W^t necessary, fcT the djo ^rSl 

F^Jw ^•'^ **'''*''^^^ there^^'be on thVKf 
France had disappeared long since ^ 

" You're a fine little sailor," said the pair of ai-ms. 
I wi L^ L"^,^ ' """"^ ■"■" ^'^ C^^OP''- " But 
The cliffs s^rody visible a short time back, began to mark 

Sf ''jS'^'*"'*''? °l^' '^'^"' the sea hea^, to^"^ 
shdmg between. A thin gleam of sunlight broke throwfh 
grqr clouds. It made the day look colde?. ^ 

Then a long time passed, during which no particular pro- 
gress seemed to be made, and thin suddenly^ it s^m^ 
gradually as it was in reality, there came a m^menTThen 
sraultaneously the passengei and the sailors S to te 
aimnated by something which spread tCr^KeJ^ 
Ud^people with pale face^a fdnt pink upSn tte Sk 
o^ dti;^'^J V.*^'*^ «P *«"" the cTbins. The enduS 
2m .^^""^ ^"' T"- '"^ themselves, looked aZt 
inem bome performed an impromptu , lUet or collected 
^ lugg=«e. As if to cheat sufferers of the sym^thy whiS 
was then- due, the sea now began to go down. No one o" 
side would know or believe. ... »= on ims 

Sh?ht5°?^fi'' T*^^ welcom^ him with triumphant eyes. 
She^ad held out, but couM not pretend to have enjoyed 

" Poor Trimmer ! " she said. 

The boat entered the harbour and slid to her moorings 

It was a veiy wan Trimmer who appeared then^^iling 



■1:1 



^\ 






88 CHRISTOPHER 

wiohitely, however, and clwpii^ her mistraw's dnidu- 

CMC. ^ 

" You ought to have stopped on deck, Trimmer," Chrlv 
topher told her. 

" Did I ? " Mid Trimmer. But ahe managed to tmile. 

" One Woe U paat 'm." the laid, aa she landed. " It's like 
the Bode oi Revelations. And English 'm— listen." (A 
porter had said, " Allow me, miss " ; another, " 'Uny up 
with them things I ") " English I Doesn't it do your heart 
good, Master Christopher ? I could kiss them all. It's worth 
Woes— though, mark you, I was near wishing we'd go to the 
bottom. And that more than once," she added. 

" Poor Trimmer! " said Mrs. Herrick again. 

Tm in the train, with protestant English buns (for the 
«f»o«*«j of over the water) revived her ; revived Christopher's 
mother; refreshed Christopher. Everyone's spirits rose after 
that. The colour tame back to Trimmer's cheeks. She could 
lau^ at her sufferings. Christopher had never seen his 
mother herself in such spirits before. The holiday mood heM 
the three of them. 

After an hour of laughter and talking, they slept 

Victoria was Christopher's next ccmsdous impression. 
.-^ l^^f? "*** "^ ^ '•'^ travellers ; the man who had 
lifted Chiist^her ; the oU lady to whom he had prophesied 
^*^ .frlT?*^*" '*™' ''^Jently. iot she nodded to him and 
said, 0«rf I call you horrid ? You were perfecUy right.") • 
the in, the famt-hearted. the intrepid. There was sonw verJ 
COM waiting to the tune of goodness knows what not of ndse • 
sa en^e letting off steam-to take every S out of what you 
shouted or said ; the rattle and cUtter of vans, of metal on 
wood and on stone. Through the hiss and the clamour would 
soimd the shrill whistle of an out-going train with the loud 
puff, p.^, puff of its effort at starting. Stations, Christopher 
was to flunk afterwards, were noisier when he and tiie world 
were younger. But confusing as it aU was, there was some- 
tning stimulating m the very uproar. 

." V^ *t London." evei /tiling said. " This is London." 
Keep tight hold of my hand," said Trimmer. He could 



CHRISTOPHER 



P<^^<!X^'^ " """>' ^^P-^-f- Ev«. the .t.tio„. 

noi'to s: leJ? is^'ti'-.te'S: "v"'* «^" ^^ ^- 

.long." "*"**• V bath. Now perhaps we 8h«U^ 

-^cK^christXlJS h*S *"^ "^ ^*« ^y'« 

nothing else wm .hi. I^'^'.v ^'J**^ *=*""«*<» I^f i for 

house, of t^^ble d^^e "i^' ,^''*'=^«''t» o" the 
ofthe stmdy legs. «d Spa£1..SrStrf:\*^'y- 
obsolete street cries. Not ^rlh«!^u ™ * ^"^ ' ^'^V 
^hort drive from ^ctS Se^^^^.'^J ""^ <» «>e 
may have been that thev fi,ri «7 u ' ''"*' whenever it 
th.^ stood to htaaftem^-?""^^ "P^ *y* " •». 
thei remote dZhtf^ f^ " presenting the London of 
were still " «andS. " V^- "°«'P'^«'ted days. There 

we«h«nmSr-C«S3rL ^T""*-" ^«* 
What he chiefly nrted tattT^.h **^,^'^' *«»tmen powder, 
he picked off his moih^ ... *** ^^ '^*' Wts of which 

These thi4X^S?v^l' Srr**«»L?J°'<«t impossible. 

NeveTwSdd he ESe^«Tt J^'^ ''"« ^'«J°'»- 
tiavellers very «^n Si ^^ ^^"^ ^"^ """"y '"^ the 
it for the ooLi^ sidd h ^^ v ^ ^'^™"*'' ^''^^ 

_.W«me." said Trimmer. 
-Setable"^^, J^XtlrTaV^ '^'"^ ^^ 









t\ 






90 CHRISTOPHER 

To Trimmer it was a question of the cooking. 

" Oh, you two funny people," said Christopher's mother. 
" But I quite see what you mean," she said to Trimmer. 

Trimmer need not have feared. Thei« was nothing French 
about the cooking. There was an upple tart after the chops ; 
cheese after that — cheddar for Gruyire, to ("raw from Trim- 
mer the inevitable comparison — and with this meal they 
drank tea I No, nothing French about Ebury Street. 

Trimmer retired presently to unpack for the night, but 
returned mysteriously not many minutes later. 

" What do you think I've found ? " Christopher guessed 
breathlessly. He had hardly let himself hope. 

Trimmer brought what she held from bdiind her back. 

" The landlady kept it in case you should come hece again. 
It's not even broken." 

But was that it ? — ^that his cherished memory ? He grew 
very red and stood with his hands ir his pockets. He had 
never felt so shamed. It was a toy for a baby ! 

His mother played with it after he had gone to bed. 

He bad hardly recovered from his discomfiture when 
Trimmer, half an hour later, came back to fetch him. After 
the adventurous day to have suffered such humiliation ! He 
still played with tojrs. He would have admitted that. Had 
he not ducks and fish of coloured tin (with a wonderful 
metallic smell) which followed a magnet about in a basin of 
water ? Scarcely " okler," these. He had leaden soldiers ; 
tops ; a painted ball even. But there was a difference. If 
Trimmer had oven not treated the thing as a " surprise." 
" What do you think I've fotmd. Master Christopher ? " 
He should have known better than to respond to that. Trim- 
mer shoukl know better than to lay such a trap for him— 
should have realised. 

But London came to his rescue. Unfamiliar sounds reaclied 
him from the street ; the song of a drunken man— something 
about Champagne Oiarlie ; the rattle of cabs and carriages ; 
a postman's knock ; the ay of a newspaper-boy ; the passing 
of many feet. London was going on all round him. It was 
in the flicker of the firelight on the walls, in the feel of the 



CHRISTOPHER 



9i 

sfaange bed the pleasant restfnliiess of the coM dean sheets • 

so Dadly. It was in the sound of a piano beimr olaverf «m^ 
wh«re not far off ; in the drip of waf^i^ SS X tot 
of the sta«s ; m the candles which had light^^ to bS^ 
Above aU, ,t was in a rumble, like the kS orthT^aves on 
the sands at Boulc^ne, which seemed to be^d ev^ Xr 
»und^d wWch went on aU the time witibTt cS ]ta 

Sn.''^:'s°Se°i^^" ^"^^ """ ^°-«°* ^^^- 

k™* w . , . '^ Souig up and down now, like the 

boat, but very pleasantly. It was rocking him gently tode^ 

He woke to see his mother bendi^ver ^""y*""^-*?- 

" ShtSrrig'p'^!'^" "^^ '^^ ' -• -yw-^y-" 

He couldn't remember, and was asleep again. 



4 



i. 






CHAPTER XIII 



1. 



HERRICKSWOOD had been a big place in its time, and 
even now, shorn of most of its acres by the extrava- 
gance of dead and gone Herricks, was of considerable import- 
ance in its own county. It was of paramount importance 
in the eyes of its owner. There had always been Herricks of 
Herrickswood. It was a big square house, of imposing front, 
and the many charming inconveniences incidental to its age. 
There was tapestry and there were draughts in many of the 
bedrooms. The house stood in a small park, which, in the 
days of its former glories, had been a big one. There had been 
deer in the reign of Christopher's grandfather, but were none 
now. There were fine trees: beech, chestnut, oak. An 
avenue of the second led from the nearer of the two lodge 
gates to the house. The road from the further, by which, 
as the more direct from the station, our travellers were driven 
upon their arrival, ran through bracken-covered slopes, past 
a lake, a larch plantation, a round building which had been 
kennels and was now empty, and presently a little private 
chapel. 

Herrickswood, beautiful as it was, always oppressed Chris- 
topher's mother, who knew that it was by reason of its exist- 
ence — since everything else was equal and the Oxeters as 
old a family as the Herricks— that she had not been thought 
a good match for Christopher's father. Herrickswood was 
the outward and visible sign of the Herricks' position. There, 
as Squires, Justices of the Peace, Guardians of the Poor, as 
High Sheriffs from time to time, or Lord Lieutenants of their 
county, they had lived, doing well or ill — ill as often as not 
—but in the sight of all. The Oxeters, on the other hand, 
if of a stock no less respectable, had no such sign. Granny 
Oxeter used to say with a chuckle that her daughters were 
privileged to wear cousins' mourning .for half the deaths re- 
93 



CHRISTOPHER g^ 

cordable in Burke and Debrett. but much good might that 

nS^ ff «ve r S^^'^°«'« "P»° this occaSrS 
ted thm. S^h "r"""""" *^ " ^°rt welcome, and 

ChriTonW ^^^*^-'°om. She walked with a sti^ 
h.r c^i '^^ ■■ "^^^^ her and everything else, followed 

«6 a glance alter them, disappeared with the servants 
through a large baize-covered dobfat the end ofa p^T 
There was nothing austere about the room i^to whiAMrs 

fnTJS If J^ \^ 6"*^*^- A bright fire buried iTtSie 
and twinkled m tte glass in the fiLes of the m^ pkto^ 
tl?s ' ^ ^ =««» on the surfaces of manyE^ 

da?Se"Sfw!'""'^ "" "^-^^ """'^ *° ^''^ fi'- 'o' »»- 

ifsubllH^* w "* y°".'" ^" ^"^ t° Christopher. 
mS^t S '' '""""^ ^*^ °°* "-"^^ fl^^ than 

at'li!^l'"°!l'^'' 5^?" *^*° "^^ "^•" Ws grandmother said 

" W^!^hS.^' ^ *""'"■'" Christopher's mother said. 
" His eyes." 

toZ?'^ ^""^ ""'"*• ^°"' *' ^""^ '**^ "'''t, eh, Chris- 
Christopher said " No." 






■HI 






:i!i 



cH 






94 



CHRISTOPHER 



She did not say whether what she saw pleased her, but 
signing him to a stool by the fire, turned to her daughter-in- 
law and asked about her journey. 

The butJer and a footman appeared now with cakes and 
wine. Christopher was bidden to eat, which he did with 
good appetite. The butler was told to pour out half a glass 
of sherry for him. He drank it. coughing a little. After that 
he was given some Views of the Rhine to look at, and by the 
time he had gone through t em twice he was ready for some 
other diversion. This was not immediately forthcoming, so 
he wandered round the room ; looking at things which he 
wanted to touch, but did not, and being careful to make no 
noise. 

" He will dine with us to-night, Anne." 

" If you are good enough to let him." 

" Pooh. Would you like to, Christopher ? " 

Christopher said Yes, and added Please for manners. 

" Well, then, now you'd like to see your rooms. Will you 
ring that bdl, Christopher ? " 

Very wi ^ stone steps led from the austere hall to the land- 
ing above. It seemed to Christopher that miles of passage 
had to be paced before the room was reached in which Trim- 
mer was now unpacking. 

"The young gentleman's room is next door," said the 
butler, " the dressing-room as it were to yours 'm," and 
withdrew. 

Trimmer told of splendours below. It was all much as she 
remembered it on an earlier visit years ago, only "grander" 
if anything. Mrs. Herrick's maid, Ollenshaw, was still in 
office, and would you believe, wore a silk gown if you please 
'm. She was a very haughty person, but had not, it seemed, 
forgotten Trimmer, to whom she was all that was affable- 
affability impersonified, Trimmer said. She had a sitting- 
room to hersdf now — with a piano in it ; at least, one of those 
old-fashioned tall ones, with faded silk spreading in rays like, 
from a rosette in the middle. It had yellow keys— the sort, 
Trimmer said, amongst which some were generally found to 
be dumb. But it gave the room a hair as you might suppose. 



CHRISTOPHER 



which was brcLh^ to th^^h"* '"I "*«' '°* '"'«««1 to«I 
shaking outZsI^:*JrtiS°?:C''"7"'*^-.^'^«' 

It was*'. A Mtr;„,^ £ tif rr''' "ff -itation ladies, 
you the toast ? ' vZ welS/^h '' '"d ' May I pass 
I should say in theltong i°' ' '^'^^'- "■ •"•* enerviating 

"3 t'*,r *'^y °' her mistress's box 

onlyS lit*";? a'dTeo^^*"' ''T ^« ""^ ""«- 
he's been pension^' off nlT^Tl,^^'' ^"^ h«« •«fore, 
-the houWkeewrii von **"; Wellington is still here, 'n, 

head-hou^S.hoTus7'L""''''', ^^^ *'"'' «=«"'■ ^^ th^ 
a^aUagogtos^tLrhS^tS^^tr ^nd M^. '.. 

for six months " ' '" * ***» ^° °r been heaid of 

Christopher, looking round, saw his mother £„,wn at her. 

atS^iriS^h^tst r "^" "^ •"- «>- »- 

mostofthetalkir'ffis^^f^"!"'"*^- His mother did 
a litae awed by I^ «ave b^tt? f .f^'*^- Christopher, 
the wooden fa4. ^d^^It So v^ fl1° footmen \vith 
be seen and not heard. ^""^ *h** '^y* *o"U 

nof k?ute *a^'!ariS*.. No S ''''^'^* *h^' '^^ did 
some tempting Sh which h^ ^°" °* ^^ mother's, to 
elbow „po^ it! £Jnd ^otd ifr'th'^'T^^y ''^ "^^ 

«m, said his grandmother. 

He^nottheS;rri^r.™°*'-' "-d meant it. 

as mother smiled a little anxiously. 
Christ^h^?^ "^^ '^^^*'"''" ^e said: "aren't you. 



:n.:l| 



1! 



■lii 



.•H 



g6 CHRISTOPHER 

Christopher looked from one to the other. 

" Needn't I be ? Haven't I got to ? " 

His grandmother laughed out. 

" I'd like some more then," he said boldly. 

Was it instinct or young memory which had taught him 
how to treat her ? 

His grandmother said nothing, but something was relaxed. 
He felt it. His mother felt it. After that he talked as much 
as he would have talked at home. Dinner lost its portentous 
solemnity. 

Long after Christopher had gone to bed his grandmother 
and his mother sat talking. 

" Your lettei- telling me you were coming to England 
nearly crossed one from me. I was on the point of writing 
to you." 

Anne glanced up from her work. She, like Mrs. Oxeter, 
was crocheting an antimacassar. 

" It was time I saw my grandson," said Mrs. Herrick. She 
was a fierce-looking old woman, on whose face time had 
written inscrutable things. 

" I'm so glad you should see him now. I've wanted you 
to see him. I was waiting, in a way. I didn't think you liked 
children." 

" I don't." 

They were back now in the room into which the two had 
been ushered upon their arrival. Christopher's grandmother 
looked at the fire, which, though it had evidently just been 
made up, did not seem to please her. She put on a loose 
velvet glove which hung by a loop from a nail in the wall, and 
taking up the poker, poked, raked out, and rearranged the 
coals. She threw another log on to them from a box which 
stood beside the hearth. 

" I don't like children," she repeated. " I never did— 
except my own— and they grew up." 

It may have been a little movement which her daughter-in- 
law made which caused her to consider her words. 

She' took off the glove and hung it up in its place over the 
coal-box. 



CHRISTOPHER ^ 

you. 1 admit it R^f } ^tw^'y want him to marrv 

glad rXt he adm^^'T; •t-: n r"%f"''^ 

and the other might jJ^iS^^ " * ' *^ '°' '^ *^''*- 

The old rves blazed suddenly as they looked intn fK e 
The iingers with the manv rin« « . L , °*° *® ^- 

adpde^eS^r'^ait^Jre^.^''""^^^^^^^^^^ 

who not only was SS but hnV""*"" T^^ ^"^ ""^ 
In spite of her, h« SSat a Httl^n^ T"^ *" ^''^ P°^«^- 
had the thought of HeJridt^w^ " ^ **'' ^°'' "«^«"" '^^'-e 
son crossed ter ^ ^t? M^ H connection with her own 
her husband. hadTe disSL ont^*'^'*' ^K:^' ^°'^^^* °' 
she had always kno^ '^ thlt I '?"/«**««-«J P'^asure 
passing over her oZl^, ^^ a ttcl't^f 1 f*^ ^^''^ »' 
much as occurred toh^ ^" ''^'^ '''«* "«ver so 

womL'wS'sa^'^'^^^: St^*" *^"'' ""^ "^ old 

court, and fo^'Zt ? l^'cj^t^^ tot^l *' '"^P^^" 
reputable women to PnaW» r?"^''"*^ to the support of dis- 

and for mJS o teSt t l^J "°? ^^"^ ^"'' <W»k, 
much as hisKi " °"*^' ** * *^« '^thout so 

sh5>%rer'' "•' * "*'^'' «'^-" °' humour shot into the 

^P^Zt^^^i^rn7T^:S\^^^'^ one 
my hold over him. He make-i it mTv, u ' J^ ■"'difference to 
He knows what I ca^do^S ^^^h' Tl "" ^' ?*"'"e^*- 
courage to flout me ^e- ^^L ^^ ^ ^^^ impudent 
wholnbesudia/ooP *'^'*"""^ominaman - 

•'iu''::i^efd1 "SU,"'' Christopher's mother, 
the matter with yon." ** '' '" * **y' what's 



n 






n 



^v 



98 



CHRISTOPHER 



Christopher's mother laughed— relieved that she might 
show cdom' in a situation which had demanded neutrality, 
at least, from her. 

" A spice of the devil would have done yon no harm — a little 
more of the guile of the serpent. If Christopher has either he 
won't get it from you." 

" He's not such a paragon," said his mother. She smiled 
at the thought of thb being praise. 

" I hope not ; but I hope more that he'll never be anything 
else in essentials." ^ 

What these might be she did not say. 

" What are his tastes ? " she asked abruptly. 

Anne Herrick felt herself nonplussed. His tastes ? How 
could she say ?— thqugh she thought she knew. How explain 
to this stem old woman who expected men to be soldiers, that 
she believed Christopher to be many other things ? She did 
not forget the war time when Christopher had been martial 
with the most martial. She did not foiget many a little 
incident in his little career which showed that he was not 
wanting in pluck — ^fadngs of pain, the dentist, perhaps, 
facings of what had to be face*", but might have been shied 
at. These things did not count. She did not think he was a 
soldier. His tastes? Everything was his taste. A walk 
with Christopher would have told you more than she could 
tell. 

" I don't know," she said at last " He's interested in 
everything." (She was using, though she did not know it, 
almost the words Trimmer luid used to the piano-tuner, when 
she, in turn, had tried to express Christopher.) "There's 
nothing that he doesn't see. He sees pictux«s." 

" A-. artist ? " 

Mrs. Herrick's tone was tolerant in a contemptuous sort of 
way. 

" I don't know. He's taking-in all the time. Taking-in 
everything he hears and smells and sees and touches " 

"And tastes, I hope. Give him a good appetite. '*'" 
healthier then." 

His mother nodded. 

" He uses all his senses for what he is absorbing." 



It's 



CHRISTOPHER 



99 

not Xt— •''*^* °' '^-«'« °°« -« «" «'mmon-i. 

Anne Heniclc smiled. 
he"i«''£^L^-JJ;,^X-^oi^^p« Butif 
were andnever wiU be." "« *^ sees them as they never 

" Hr^r *^.'?^"8 an artist I misdoubt me." 
only wis c^dl^f/ "^"f^- "" '^"'*'' °^ «"«e. but 

diit.21 'paS^^P'"'" ^^'^""'^^ ^' ^-- " I 
There was a pause after that. 

ESiier«,id'rdi°Lrt'" ^r-"^ '^^■ 

may suiprise7ou." '"*' *° ""* something which 

^e^Herrick looked at her, speculating as to what that 

Mt tK» „ij i^"«=" away at the rose she was making SHp 

-.^toPD-. Who had tS^S^S' ^" "°* - ^'-"S 
^ WeU ?" she said at last. 

be wS* ^T"* ^°"''* "" P""y' and Pettiness shouldn't 
ZJtlfr:', ifr "^y y°" ^«'y l^°w how pretty you aL 



''^1 

, '1 1 

ill 









111 

'j j' 



1^1 I 



too 



CHRISTOPHER 



" Oh. itoM." 

Anne Herrick conld not stifle that littk cry. 

" It isn't for your sake at all," Hn. Herrick oontinaed 
relentlesaly. " llioagh it might be and might very well be, 
it isn't. It's Christopher I'm thinking about." 

" I know what you are going to say " 

" Well, then, has it ever occurred to you that a household 
of women isn't the best environment for hbn ? We're narrow, 
the broadest of us, circumscribed, hemmed in as much by our 
own ignorances as by anjrthing else. It won't always be so 
perhaps. There are signs even now of a breaking down of some 
of the barriers. Whether that will be good for us I for one am 
not prepared to say. The fact remains that we're not called the 
weidcer sex for nothing. Well, there are weaknesses that I 
pride myself upon not having, and this a one of them. Most 
women think that then- sons' widows should be widows 
indeed. Well, I don't, and if ever " 

" Ah, please—" 

" Nonsense, you're a young woman." 

That was what 'Christopher's mother had so lately dis- 
covered, and what for that very reason she did not want to 
hear. She held her breath for the strangeness of the moment. 

" I'm thinking of Christopher. Where there's a boy there 
should be a man. There's nothing " 

"Don't say ' like a man in the house,' " Anne implwed, 
laughing a little hysterically. 

" Well, that's what I was going to say," said Christ(q>her's 
grandmother. 



1 



/" 



CHAPTER XIV 

T"h!.S*^?''T.*^'^*™*'^^"'- There had been a very 

K^ «r^ •* ^'^ *° ''*^ spent m^t of the moS 
l»«tang cat 8 ice with a sturdy boot, and canvassine fa? 

pandmother had said fervently, at breakfast, "The L«d 
forbid. If not snow, then a speU of frost lor sUding-perhMs 
evM for learning to skate. Tie frost, Robson thS^3 

fStlJ^ttn", *^« '>°r'"«P« ««»ned disposed, thoS 
ahttle too indulgently, to promise him. It ap^«i to be 
because boy, would be boy*-or, more aptly, VUTwntle! 

Z^«Vw ^* f""*/»^e "• His mother, who in her S. 
WM rather wishing, too, that the frost might last went down 

^^/°J°r!^*l*^^''- She hadTots^Ll formal 
yean, but wed to skate-when she was " young." as a short 
tame bade she wouU have expi^sed it-when^; ^JfS 
Wore she married, that is, as. for some reasonT £ 
she was moved to put it now ' 

suShJ^ Ar''7'" ^""^^ ^'""^ *« shimmered in clear 
su,%ht. Already, pnvate as the park was. with only a ri^ 

wJZ "^ '^i? " ^''^' ^'^^P'^^' the stone J tw^rf 
wantonness or active mischief lay upon the ice But whS 

bftJSi""* '*"*'"*' She fel^ exited and'agTUS: 
vJ^.** ^ this conspiracy that insisted on her youth ? The 

^at t, °^ ""f. ■* ^"'""^ "-*« *"P stimulating at 
W^t too. was this mystery of recurring phrases ? Words 
seemed to group themselves arbitrarily on the tongue to 
^r^ her. THere's nothing like . ^. Could any^terS 

TJI^'^TI^'1.'''^'^' Were they chan^cei 
at aU which had it m them so to force themselves upon her ? 



im 



ti 



''I 



Am 



I03 



CHRISTOPHER 



Christoi^er even— Christopher, all oncomdoot, peative, 
innocent of any dedgn toever^-had been drawn into the 
disturbing argument they pressed. Hal she Bed to En^and 
but to be confronted with them in « n w and strengthened 
guise ? Something seemed to her to be di sing round her. 

" Come here, Christopher." 

He I -—from brraldng cat ice. A cart-road, deeply 
rutted, skirted the lake, and the mts were bridged as with 
glass near where she was standing. He could break to his 
heart's content. He held a bit of ice in each hand. His 
cheeks were glowing. 

" What, mother ? " 

She did not know and made some excuse— told him to look 
at a robin which had alighted almost at her feet. 

" hn't he tame ? " 

She had meant to ask him questions. Some impulse which 
as suddenly as it came dc'serted her, hs-i prompted her to 
ask him whether he was happy. Was his life happy— his 
normal life at Boulogne with only herself and Trimmer for 
everyday companionship ? For change and interchange of 
ideas outside his home, were his schoolfellows enough for 
him ? What good to ask him ? Of course he was happy ; 
and how could he know ? If he were not happy even, how 
could he know ? 

The robin took flight and Christopher went back to his cat 
ice. 

But even as she dismiiaed her questions came a recollection 
to answer them. Christopher, bending over a rut, had 
unconsciously put himself into the first position for one of the 
acrobatic feats which he used to perform with poor Pierre 
About in the magic days of the billeting. Monsieur Christophe 
was told to stoop down— lower, lower ; now from between his 
knees to give Pierre, who stood behmd him, his hands, so ; then, 
Houp-la ! Houp !, and he had been made to turn a somersault ! 
It was Pierre, of course, who did the performing. Christophei 
had only to have faith ; not to be frightened. There were other 
evolutions through which he was put. He had stood on Keire's 
shoulders one day, held only— (though Jean Poulard was there 
ready if he should .'all to catch him)— held only by Pierre's 



CHRISTOPHER |«g 

!!!2?«'lw ^ 0' •>!» »«^- It l«d been Cnrfatophef. 
mother th»t day who was frigfatened, not Chriatophwl- 
thoogh he wa« not lony to come down. 

That wa. liie p«*ap.. That wa» life for a boy. Happy, 
w ^^^„ She h«l only to think of Chrtotopher ihe 

. uT^ }^^*^ to n«lfae that, full a. his young life 
nrfght be, it had been fuller for this time than it hadbeen 
btfoTB or since. Yet, when all was said, how do better than 

She laughed to heneU presently, her q>irits rising again 
as she raced him towards the house. 

«,n lI'l^llL'^ *'?"« ^ *^^ ^y*'" •»» "M. " and then 
yon won t beat me. 

aU rSf "^'''* *°* *° ''^'" "^ '^- " Then I shaU beat you 
" Sh- J you, indeed, sir ? And why, pray ? " 
Oh, weU," said Christopher, " I'm-weM, you're not a 

boy, you see." ' 

" And all boys can beat tlieir mothers ? " 
" On their legs," said Christopher, " of course " 

* i^'-.??^'^ *•*• *^^ ^^ "o* "^open tiie subject of her 
talk with her daughter-in-law that day-nor would, perhaps 
dunng the rest of the visit ? She had said her say, maybe 
and would leave her words to soak in ? Amie, enjoying 
hOTelf m spite of misgivings and forebodings, more than she 
nat? expected, and somehow no longer " oppressed " by 
Hemckswood, gave herself up to the very simple pleasures 
of the moment, and hoped so. She went for a drive in the 
aftwnoon and assisted Mrs. Herrick in the distribution of her 
rather fierce Christinas doles. 

'■ H«e's a pound of tea and a pound of sugar, Jane Jarman, 
and a Happy Christmas to you, and don't let me hear of your 
wStaJn^ '*'^' "^ **" •^ ^'1 ^°°^ °"t for a new 

Anl^^ '"• y^ '"■ ^^'^ y^ ^^y- *"<• no '"- I'm sure. 
Aim 1 ID sure 1 ope 



I 



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CHRISTOPHER 






" Yes, Jane Jannan, I know. Well, just tell him. And 
don't let the tea ' stoo.' Good day to you." 

" Good day 'm, and I'm sure I 'ope . . ." 

" The cottage by the foige, James." 

Or " Here's half a crown, Blrs. Holden ; and what's this I 
hear about your daughter ? Let her understand once for all 
that I won't have any scandal. If you can't control your 
children you've no light to have had any. Not a word. I 
won't listen to any excuses. None to make for her ? Well, 
all I can say is you ought to have. There. There. The usual 
wishes." 

Sometimes the attack came first. 

"Your sons are poachers and thieves, Enoch Jones. 

They're a disgrace to the parish. I hear fine accounts of 

them. It's not their fault, I'm told, that they're not spending 

Christmas in prison this year. It's a pity they're not if what 

I bear's true, and then people's pheasants might hope to 

spend theirs in Christian safety. Mind this, though, I'll show 

them no mercy if my keepers catch them. You ought to be 

ashamed of yourself, yon wicked old man. What happened 

to Eli, eh, in the Scriptures ? He fell off a post, didn't he, 

to pui'sh him for his sons' evil courses, and so will you if you 

don't check yours on theirs. You may well look down. 

How's your little granddaughter ? " 

" She don't seem to get up her strength." 

" Send up to the hall for some soup. Perhaps she cocIJ 

eat a little jeUy. I'U speak about it. Here's a parcel of 

groceries for you. I should wish you a happy Christmas with 

more certainty of your getting it, if you'd brought up your 

sons better. Good day, Enoch Jones." 

"Good day 'm, and thank you gratefully and a Merry 
Christmas and many of 'em." 

" Merry Christmas, indeed," snorted Christopher's grand- 
mother to his mother. " Merry— with Stephen in some 
gutter ! I suppose I ought to fall off a post myself. It's 
lucky I'm not given to sitting on anything so risky." 

So they proceeded. It was, " Where's the list, my dear ? 
Have you marked those off? That's right. Good-for-notUngs 
all of them. Who's next then ? " ITie oddest old woman ! 



CHRISTOPHER 



105 
M^V^^ '^^^ the gifts for an old Irish widow, one Biddv 

Tni ,^K -/u""! '*^ thoughtful place-althou^ wm 
Christopher, meanwhile, who had staved at hn™» * u 1 

the women-servants who were helping. ITie dderlv^e^ 
SrSri'; T '"^ ? '^y ^°^^th when Sf smS 

eve^ns «dth Trimmer, said, "Ah. in S oldX^he^ 
«e used to have amiual servants' balls here. thaTwas the 
St^jT-^^-i^tletoethen. Some m'eani„g."« y^J^ 

a^r^rinT ''"'''''' '-- «•' festalTesSgt^anl 

;;&tte';soX r^'"'^^'" '•= ^'^- 

He is. He's a piano-tu " 

Tnmmer's laughmg hand covered his mouth 

genX We^TSL^t'^t "^ ^"^ *° «*- 
Master Christopher Tlon Xfl^f ^ '*'°"' "^"^ '^ P™^ 
knew hown h,ff l^^ ^ I house-proud Heaven 
natural Z«;«IH ."nd^ready to descend from his 

TOu^ w f ■ T."" '*°»"<led OUenshaw of his father of 
cou^, but of h« grandfather, too. and of his ^?f 






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" I hardly realised 'm," Trimmer said afterwards to her 
mistress. " I didn't indeed." 

" Realised what ? " 

" What they think it, to be one — a Henick, I mean." 

" He's an Oxeter too." 

" I don't forget that. But in this house 'm — ^The im- 
portance I Of course I always knew — his father's son and 
being posthumious, as I said at the time, I remember. But this 
brings it 'ome." Trimmer lowered her voice again. " He's 
winning golden opinions, 'm. Ollenshaw t«!lls me his grand- 
mamma's taken to him most extraordinary. She hears 'm, 
having her ear, as it were. Indeed, in the housekeeper's 
room he's as good as looked upon as the " 

But that, Christopher's mother would not hear. She felt it 
her duty to speak rather sharply. That was not to be said. 
Not to be thought even. The case was nothing of the sort. 

_ If such an idea were put into the boy's head 

' " No 'm, of course not. Who wotUd dream ? " 

Trimmer was not a bit abashed. 

" Don't let me hear anything more of this, or I shall be very 
angry." 

The decorations betokened no special festivities. Herricks- 
wood was always decorated at Christmas. Festoons of ever- 
greens decked the sombre hall every year, hanging from point 
to point on the walls. Bunches of holly were tucked behind 
the frames of the pictures, crowning them or balancing them- 
selves on each side of them. Mrs. Henick might be glad 
enough to see these things cleared away when they had 
served their purpose, but she would as soon have thought 
of not having them as of absenting herself without adequate 
reason from church, on the 2Stb of December. Customs 
were habits in those days. 

The work went on apace. There were a rustling and a 
crackling of leaves. The big garland, on which the maids 
had been employed in their spare time for the last few days, 
was in its place between the two pilasters ; and the smaller 
ones were growing apace under Ollenshaw's and Trimmer's 
deft fingers. Christopher alternately helped and hindered. 






CHRISTOPHER ,oy 

^J^*^t """*' ***^ ^'^^° Albert now, and dis- 
covered that he was not wooden. Albert had many accom- 
phdunents which you would not have dreamt of atttbX 
to him If you had only seen him waiting. He could move 
his ears and his scalp. Very accomplished this ! He could 
wmk, arid aught Christopher-with, however, a iLuti^ 
But above aU he was a ventriloquist. 

He called, " Are you there ? " into an empty cupboard 
under the great stone stairs, and a voice . one out of it iaying 
th?oUyT' ""' ^'' '^^°'' """^ y°"°8 gentleman 'ol^ 

" What young gentleman ? " 

" Why, standing beside you, stupid ! " 

" He means you. Master Christopher." 

After that tte voice of the man in the empty cupboard 
who dropped his H's so thoroughly, had to be evokedfo 
Chnstopher from everywhere else that Christopher could thmk 

il ifr" ^^u"^ °''^*^'^ ■■ fr"™ the dining-room and 
the hbrary, and the great cold drawing-room wWch nobody 

" Can you, Robson ? " 

Robson, smiling indulgently, had other things to do than 
waste his time. ^ 

" Can James ? " 

No James couldn't either; but it appeared that James 
was proficient "upon the melodion, a sort of concertina 
Chnstopher thought the baize door shut off many delights 

The sound of the returning carriage put a stopto the 
entertainment. The servants who had gathered round to 

anH'nir°K ^? *^*''''' ""^"^^ employments: Trimmer 
and Ollenshaw to their garlands, the maids to their snippings 

^t^"^ ' .u^h°^''' ^'>W'"e « Albert with K 

T,^ . !?.*l^^'^''' "P°" ^'^^ •>« ^ been standing 
and hastened to the door. ^^ 

_ Mrs. Herrick pausing on her stick to look round, said 

" Of the greatest assistance, 'm." 
His grandmother smiled at him. 



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" Enjoyed yooneU ? " 

Christopher had done that too. 

He followed his mother upstairs to tell her about Albert. 

But his mother could hardly listen to him ; for, odder even 
than the odd reiteration of disturbing words, stranger than 
the realisation of youth which had lately been forced upon 
her, was the news which she had just heard in the carriage. 

John Hemming, it seemed, was in England; nothing 
surprising in that : was in the neighbourhood ; not wholly 
surprising this, either, for it was in that part of the world, 
though at the other side of the county, that she had first 
met him ; was coming to dinner next day. 

And that, to Anne Herrick, was rather more than sur- 
prising. 



CHAPTER XV 

T T WM representative of the difference at that time in the 
att't'lde of society towards the male and the fetaale trans- 
gr^r, that, while the tip of Mrs. St. Jemison's nose would 
not h.y-e been aUowed to show itself over the threshold of 
Hemckswood John Hemming could be asked to dinner 
mthmt any ado soever It would not. indeed, have occurred 
to Mrs. Hemck the elder that, upon a point so weU estab- 
hshed, any tentative sounding of the guest akeady instaUed 
as to whether she had any objection to meeting him, could be 
deemed necessary. 

*.,^u- ""^""s °f being taken aback, was conscious also 
that this very difference of outlook marked the relative 
worldly positions of her mother-in-law and herself. It was a 
question of upbringing. She herself would have felt bound 
to ask before asking. Town and country mouse, she felt 
were adumbrated : here you saw the Mrs. Henick who Uved 
m the world, and the Mrs. Herrick who, in so far as she did 
not^see eye to eye with her in this matter, plainly lived out 

But, in truth, it was not upon such points of observance 
toat she was troubled. There was more than this to disturb 

She heard thus hardly more than a word or two of what 
Christopher had followed her upstairs to tell. She said "Did 
you, darling ? " and " ReaUy ! " and " You df I't mean it I " 
relevantly enough. But whether Albert was a ventriloquist 
a rontortionist, or a primitive methodist she could not have 
told afterwards-or. indeed, whether it was Albert at aU that 
sue had been hearing about, and not Robson or the elderly 
housemaid or Ollenshaw. Somebody had done something 
sue knew, and she must see or must hear him— <«■ her. Cair^ 
109 



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no CHRISTOPHER 

topher, however, did not realise her inattention and presently 
left her. 

She stood by her dressing-table in her hat and coat and 
looked at, without seeing, herself in the glass. The fire 
crackled and spluttered and blew out puffing jets of flame and 
boiling " tar " in the grate behind her. The sound of it was 
the only sound in the room. It marked the passing moments 
with little flares of ardent gas. Anne heard them, and thought 
the noise was like the running sound of the knife-grinder's 
wheel when he holds the blade to it at intervals in its revolu- 
tions. Automatically she had lighted the candles on each 
side of the looking-glass, and now, as automatically, she put 
them out, and dra^ng back a curtain looked out over the 
park. 

The frozen ground looked white, almost as if the snow, for 
which Christopher had been wishing, had come indeed. The 
Bky was very dear and, in the early winter evening, full of 
stars. The trees were very dark in the pale light, and against 
the sky the branches of a cedar near the house looked as if 
they were cut out of black paper. That gleam to the left 
ringed by darkness must be the lake. The evening was very 
still. Bells suddenly rang out faintly upon the stillness, or 
it may be that suddenly she became aware of their 
distant ringing. They reminded her of other Christmas 
Eves. 

She opened her window to listen, and as she did so another 
sound smote crisply upon her ear — ^the sound of hoofs. Pre- 
sently she made out the shape of a horse and a rider upon the 
road below. She watched its progress across the park to where 
it disappeared from her sight at the comer of the house. 

It was about five minutes later that a note was brought to 
her by Trimmer. 

" For me ? " she said. " It isn't a telegram ? " She had 
a momentary fear that something must have happened. Her 
mother was ill, or one of her sisters. 

" No 'm. It's a note by messenger." 

Trimmer looked for the matches, found them, and lighted 
the candles. 



CHRISTOPHER n, 

"It must be for Mrs. Herrick," said her mistress. She 
had taken the note and was waiting for the light to 
bum up. ^ 

" No 'm, Robson said it was for yon." 
The flames of the candles settled to steady buniing, and 
He^dc °^* °° ** envelope to be Mrs. Christopher 

Still Anne hesitated, persuaded that there must be some 
nustake. She knew no one about there likely to write to her 
There were, of course, people whom she had met or who had 
call«l upon her years ago. It was possible that one of these 
might have wntten, but it was improbable. She was sure 
ttie note, whatever its direction, must be for her mother-in- 

Trimmer waited. 

" Robson didn't say where it was from ? " 

" *^° '">• He only said it was for you. I gathered some- 
how, though he didn't say so, that the messenger had been 
given particukr instructions." 

It was a good many years smce Anne Herrick had seen the 
handwntmg on the envelope or she would have recognised 
It perhaps, but even as she broke the seal she did so, and knew 
in the same moment what she should find within. She held 
the sheet to the light, and steadying her eyes with an effort 
read the hnes it contained. 

" I have just heard you are at Herrickswood. You will 
beheve that I did not know you were to be there when, with 
my father, I accepted Mrs. Herrick's invitation to dine with 
her on Christmas Day. I place myself in your hands. I wiU 
go to-moiTow evening, or send excuse according as you bid 

There was no beginning and no end. 

" Is the messenger waiting ? " 

"Yes'm." ^ 

Anne Hemdc went over to a wnting-table, without an 
Idea of what she was going to write. Her first impulse was 
to say Do not come. Yet to what good ? She was, moreover, 
stiu so far m awe of her mother-in-law as to shrink from 
interfering m any of her arrangements. What more likely 



m:! 



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iia CHRISTOPHER 

than that the ctnning of this messenger would reach her ears ? 
In such a case, as things stood, easy enough. In view o< what 
had scandalised Boulogne so recently, to explain. But 11 
the " excuse " came first, and the hearing of the note after- 
wards, a connection between the two woiild be obvious, an 
explanation unavoidable, and Christopher's grandmother 
would, she thought, be a difficult person to whom to malce 
admissions. She must either consult her hostess or let her 
hostess's guest come. She made her decision. 

" I understand." she wrote, " and am grateful. But please 
come as you intended." 

She let this stand, folded the sheet, enclosed it in an en- 
velope which she addressed, and gave it to Trimmer. 

" The note was for me " she said. 

Christopher was not sitting up for dinner that night. It 
had been arranged in the interests of bis bed-time that he 
should have tea with Trimmer in the housekeeper's room, 
and so retire at his usual hour. He came in to dessert for a f e . , 
minutes and was given a fig and a tangerine orange to eat 
there and then, and some chocolates to take up with him, so 
he went to bed a full and happy boy. His mother and his 
grandmother sat on for a little while after he had left them, 
and then went as before to Mrs. Henick's sitting-room. Anne, 
who had been waiting all through dinner for the mention of 
John Hemming's name, was the first to speak it. She had 
decided that she must tell BIrs. Herrick of her recent meeting 
with him at Boulogne. As Christopher would see him at 
dinner the next day she had indeed no alternative. As well, 
then, speak of the note and make no mysteries. 

" At Boulogne, were they ? " said Mrs. Herrick. " Well, 
just the sort of place where one would expect to find them, 
poor things. There's the wide world to choose fK»n, and they 
go to Boulogne ! There's fate in it. If it hadn't been Bou- 
logne it would have been BrusseU or Bruges." 

" We thought of Brussels or Bruges ourselves," said Anne 
Herrick, smiling, " when Mamma gave up Cheltenham." 

Mre. Herrick made no comment on this, but looked 
amused. 



CHRISTOPHER ,,3 

do^faf"**^ °" Boulogne, did they, and fluttered yo n 

" WeU, everyone knew. That was why one couldn't do 
anything-even after his kindness about Christopher. He 
CMM at once to see him when I wrote, and I have to thank 
him, in a way, for Christopher's recovery." 

^^ You'll be able to do that to-moirow." 

" I shall be glad to have the opporti^ty. He kept out of 
ow wiy after hi, visit, and soon afteJwarfs ttey went 

.'.' 5*^ '"'" ''**^ anything of him since ? " / 

.--1 r ^- *°-'**y-°°t ti" yo« spoke of him this afternoon, 
and I got his note this evening." 

" Do you know that they've separated ? " 

cfc^! ?*""** P"* ^°'^ ^^ magazine, the pages of which 
sue had been cutting. 

" Separated ! " she said. 
" WeU— she," said Mrs. Herrick. 
Anne looked her amazement, 
last^"* *""'* tl'ey going to be married?" she asked at 

The words, as she ^ke them, showed her how completely 
imper^til had her thoughts been. John Hemming, as John 
He;nming had not entered into them. In so far as she had 
thought of him, though the sight of him had so greatly dis- 
turbed her, she had thought of him as another woman's 
husband— removed, apportioned, out of any reckonimr It 
was not of him then that she had been afraid, but ot2 men 
by reason of him; since it was the sight of him which 
had revealed to her that she was young still and a 

"pw1:7^°'*.^''* >s extraordinary," Mrs. Herrick said, 
^irst bt. Jemison, who is a beast, though that's by the way 
and justifies nothing, won't divorce her. Vindictivness 
nothing else, for he had no thought of taking her back-^and 
how 1^ ^* ^^ ^y *•'' perversity for goodness knows 
now long. And then, when at length he does, and the time 
IS approaching for the decree to be made absolute, off goes 
the lady with somebody else." 



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Anne could hmnUy teke this in. She began two or three 
aentenoet all beginnisg with Bat. 

" My dew, tt'i became yon can't pot yoonelf in her pod- 
tion. You've been ieding. Jut becaoie yon couldn't call 
npoa her, and became ihe showed tomet hi ng more perhapa 
than Jmt common humanity when Christopher met with Ids 
accident— knelt fai the dmt and didn't consider her pretty 
clothes and all that— that she was a deeply snfiering woman. 
Yoa yonraeU in her position— if you ever conld be in her posi- 
tion, which yoa couMn't I— would be miserable. Therefore 
she was. Not a bit of it. Oh, I dare say she has suffered. 
She can't have liked dropping out, sidekmg looks— any of the 
penalties. I dare say she isn't at all a bad woman in her way. 
But she's light. Women who sie really capable of sufieiing 
don't leave their children. I haven't any doubt that she 
ima^nes her little girl's name is written on her heart. It 
isn't. I won't say there isn't a heart to write on, for I quite 
think there is, but there isn't room on that sort of heart for 
the names of children." 

" She's so pretty." 

" So I've no doubt was Mrs. Potiphar." 

" You couU see people talking about her, tumicg their 
backs " 

" Just so. The penalties I qxdce of." 

" She kMked so kmely vAita he wasn't there." 

" I can imagine Boulogne— or Brussels or Bruges— veiy 
boring." 

There was silence for a few m<8nents. 

"My dear, your pity to wasted vpoa her. Trimmer's 
wasn't the wrong attitude, even if , as I can quite believe, the 
good woman's heart did smite her. Young Hemming is well 
rid of her, your St. Jemison. He may thank the husband for 
hto venom." 

" It's aU dreadful," said Anne. 

" Not nearly as dreadful (the Lord forgive me— «nd her !), 
not nearly as dreadful as it might have been. It wasn't only 
their heels they were cooling while her husband kept them 
waiting, and lucidly (the Lord forgive me again I) she found 
this out before it was too late." 



CHRISTOPHER 



IIS 



" He meant to many her " 

1ii!I^uV^^ ^ "?: '"^y ('** "^^ the Lord . . ,) 

Qt wiwt the utnatiQn demanded. She was a inni n«» ♦«^„ 
nl««-^wU, .he', found her vo«ti<m^i^ 1^ r° Itl^' 
m but .he 1, light, light. U,nrYl^7AZt^J\ 

Anne diook her head. 
" I don't know her at all." 

hJ ^*"' iu^**7** ^^' »^ ^ «v«n rather liked . rather 
Uke her. She ha. her points ; kindn««e,. genen,;iti« ex- 
cellent manners. She takes the trouble timXrer^ 

sons should happen to be her lovers. Oh 4 Sti In M. 
day She knew I knew. Bless you. didn't^^ublSw p~t^ 
head, and always was charming to me. T^t wL Co^T?? 
Jemison. Like her? One cSruldn'rhelpTShJ h« But 

her^XTlo've'3=.S*Se1^ «"• «-««* P"* on 

^A^ Mr. Hemming ?"«id Amu, then. "Isonetobe 

" \*Wnk one is to take Mm as he is. 1 have my own opinion 

I'm^^??^ Somebody always has. He's not a saint 
I mnot daimmg ttat for him, or indeed claimii a^jS 
except that, somehow, in spite of appearan^^d i^ 
deal more than appearances too, he's tobTtaSt^'' * 
she h^'Z ^ '^'" Amae said, and remembered that 
aebhf,h!!^ * ■*"* *"°« °^ good-for-nothing Stephen 
fi„ ^^^ a ve^ rosy red and was glad to see tteie wm a 

wWch h^H * « °'"^,'»«*- She stooped for her paper-knif? 
J^MT flo«„rf. The sound of the cutti^-cut rat cut cnT 
o-t, cut. established itself. The r^SS ^f helS 



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the moment. When she kxdced op her eoioor wai 
nonnal. 

They talked no moie that night of John Hemming or Mn. 
St. Jemison. Anne read her magazine— or rather, did not 
read it, but lat with it in her lap, forgetting to turn over the 
pages the had cut so aisiduously. At half-put ten Kob»<n 
and the ventriloquist appeared with their csindles. 



CHAPTER XVI 

ANNE HERRICK, wide awake in the great four-post bed 
r\ in her room, was grateful to the Waits who sang under 
the windows of Herridtswood so late that night. Out of the 
ulenoe suddenly came the singing. She raised har head to 
Usten, at a loss for a moment to account for what she heard 
Despite the decorated haU through which she had passed 
on her way to bed, she had forgotten the season, and old cus- 
toms connected with it, and she had to coUect her thoughts 
before she could be sure that, wide awake as she knew herself 
to be, she was not dreaming. Like the strains of an oivan in 
some big and empty church, the voices of men and boys swelled 
out m the stillness, and from that stiUness and the hour 
borrowed, it may be, a glamour which under any otl jr con- 
ditions they might have lacked. There must have been 
SMne twelve voices-the pick, Anne heard afterwards, of a 
neighbouring choir— and amongst them three or four of 
rather more than ordinary quality. She lay still, listening 
wishing that Christopher, too, might hear, but loath to waJbl 
him, 

'* Ay, ftnd therefore be merrj, 
Set sorroir aside. 
Christ Jeiiu the Ssriour 
Wu born at thii tide." 

Glees, ballads, madrigals alternated with hymns " God 
r**.'^?^' "f^ gentlemen," was flanked upon the one side 
by When I view the Mother holding," and upon the other 
by "Adeste Fideles." The " Mistleto^ Bough " hadite E 
•a their repertory. ^ 

Nothing ebe could have cabned Christopher's disturbed 
mother as did this odd unlooked-for concert in the night 
&»» grudged the passing of each simple melody as it newed 
"7 



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CHRISTOPHER 



an end, and feared that every one might be the last. Listen- 
ing intently, she could hear a subdued murmur of voices at 
the concl'osion of each, and could imagine the collecting of 
the sheets of music, and the discussion which then took place 
before those of the next were given out. There was the sound 
of feet ; of an occasional laugh under the breath, or perhaps 
a cough. She heard the quiet opening of a window ; little 
movements in the house itself. Others beside her were 
listening. 

She was not surprised when a gentle knock at the door 
heralded Trimmer in a flannel dressmg-gown. 

"Oh, you're not asleep 'm. I couldn't help coming to 
see. Isn't it beautiful ? Is Master Christopher ? " 

" I didn't like to wake him." 

" May I see ? " 

" If you like." 

" He'd never forgive us if we didn't. We're all listening 
upst'.irs. They don't always come, these — only sometimes. 
They're special, Ollenshaw says. It's an experience. It 
would be a pity if he missed it. Nothing like this 'm at B'lone 
is there ? " 

" Well, tell him he's not to get out of bed. And never 
mind if you don't quite wake him. Indeed, if you just half 
wake him he'll hear throtigh his sleep— perhaps the most 
wonderful way of all." 

So Christopher heard the Waits with the rest, but being 
only half wakened at Trimmer's discretion— heani them as 
his mother had predicted, in the most wonderful way of all. 
The voices of celestial choirs mingled with his dreams. Harps, 
sackbuts, psalteries, dulcimers, and all kinds of music were 
present ever after in his conception of what Waits were— of 
what the magic word should and could imply. 

" And therefore be merry, 
Set sorrow uide . . ." 

So to music passed the night for sleeping Christopher, and 
so for his mother who had not thought to sleep, but slept. 

Greetings, presents, church, the post-bag— all the usual 



CHRISTOPHER ,,g 

eager Christinas businesses— filled the morning, but even then 
and aU through the afternoon, tb- aay :!semed to be hurrying 
towards evening. Anne saw «•« hours Sit v with mixed 
feelings. She still felt bewildere ) bv the wholesale readjust- 
ing of ideas which the talk of the I'rxy before with Mrs. Herrick 
had entailed upon her. Nothuig was quite as she had sup- 
posed it. She knew not whether to be glad or sony that cir- 
cumstances should have made it possible for her to meet her 
friend of other days once more upon open ground. She was, 
of course, to have met him anyway, but not as she was now 
to meet him. How was he different indeed ? He was not 
different. That could not help still being true. Yet somehow 
everything was changed. 

She went through the day curiously ; was out as much as 
possible, feeUng a strange need of air and space. It was 
happily a day for walking, and she and Christopher did their 
five or six miles after lunch. They visited the ice in the course 
of their walk, and found it ii. excellent condition and con- 
siderably thicker than the day before. If the frost lasted she 
must see about getting skates in the neighbouring town the 
next day, to be ready for the day after, when, all being well, 
the ice should bear. She talked of this for a little, wondering 
all the time how bett to tell Christopher what he did not 
know yet. She had thought that he would probably have 
heard who it was who was coming to dinner, but it was 
evident he had not. Trimmer, of course, must have heard. 
She must have seen the direction too, on the note which her 
mistress had given to her, but however Trimmer might 
wonder, she was too well bred a servant to make any com- 
ment upon what did not concern her. It would not have been 
from her that Christopher would have heard. 

" Who do you think is coming to dinner ? " 

" Who ? " 

She told him. 

Mr. Hemmmg ? John Hemming ? His John Hemming ? 
Christopher's John Hemming I 

Was Mrs, St, Jemison coming too ? 

But here, from Christopher's pdnt of view, was the difficult 
thing to understand, for he was not to speak of Mrs. St. Jemi- 



,". I 



I30 



CHRISTOPHER 



son John Hemming was coming, but Mrs. St. Jemison was 
stm the Mre. St. Jemison who couldn't be caUed upon or 
asked anywhere. More than ever now, it seemed, w^ she 
outside the pale that Trimmer had spoken about at Boulogne 
So much so, that, whatever he did, the one thing he must 
remember at dmner, and afterwaids, and always, was that 

S'uStand.*" '""*'°""'- ^®^"'*' - y°" "^ P---' 
John Hemming however, was coming. That was the great 

again and John Hemming, released, he gathered, in some 

they met, or look past him, or over hhn, or otherwise show any 

&o°ILH-r°"l"?'- ^-^ ^''^ di£ferent-would 1^ 
fomid to be different. It was Christopher then who, like the 
day Itself, stramed towards the evening. 

h..frH°^ti?*"^?',P"*^"^ *^ ^"^"8 *°"<=''es to her dressing, 
heard the wheels of General Hemming', carriage on the 
grayd. She had reheved her mind by speakingTf Z ex 
P^ ed guests to Trimmer, and had found, ^e expected 

tta ir^T "''' \^^^ ^•"'"S- Trimmer kne^ too 
that Mrs. St. Jemison had taken a further step in her cL-eer 

SS Sel r IT' °^''^°™*tio" »Pon the'^loings oH^Tat 
she called the best people, and had more to tell of Mrs St 
Jemison than Trimmer had to teU her. She had known some 
mce ones m her time. It was OUenshaw's sex, 0^^,^ 
thought which was most in general to blame, ani Mr Hem 

at Boulogne, did not seem surprised that Mr Hemmine 

tot; ftZbt'-. ^.'*- J^'-"' " --Sident3 
H-mrli -i *" '. ^^ ^^ removed, there remained Mr 
Hemnung, with no visible black mark against him. Tt^angT 
Yet not very different in essence her own aigmnent A^e 
tho^nt ; and not so very different Mrs. HeSs It wL 
agreeable, however, not to have to explain. 



'Your fan. -m," said Trimmer, 



' and your gloves," and 



CHRISTOPHER „. 

!^n^t ^" *" *•*" I?""' *° '°°'' ^^^^ ^^' ^ith approbation 
down the passage. Her mistress was wearing a new ^^ 
and Tnmmer tliought slie had never looked prettfer 
Tnnuner was not the only one that admired Amie that night 

fi„dr.rf °* ^'i'* *° *^^- "«"^<*'^ sitting-room, o^to 
find It empty, and then, guided by the sound of voic4, to the 
drawmg-room Its two fires were blazing, and its many 
candl^ gave the room a brilliance which became it greaU? 
M^. H^nck was standing at the hearth at the far end oflt 
t^ng to an old and a young man. Christopher sto^ b^lde 

in " ^'•f^fZlJ'^"^ y°"'" ^' ^^ ^^y'"g ^ Anne came 
m. Just family. You remember my daughter-in-law " 

Anne, readiing the party,shookhands with GenTralHemminiz 
She turned then to the other, of whose exact aspect, ThZh 
^ had not looked at him till she stood beside Urn, 'she S 

^ h«Tr '?/''" "i°^^ *^^ '■°°™- She put out ier hand 
She heard herself greet him without knowing what she said 
and at the same moment dinner was annoiwced 

M °^r, *° ^^"^ '^**^" "P * '"tie giri for Christopher 
KtLr t^/f S'^^*°P'>-'^ grandmother, apportioiS'^ 
his mother to John Hemming with a wave of her fan. " Bm 
httle gu-ls are not easy to get at Christma^nor anyone 
eke for that matter, which makes me the more gratrf^ ?o 
you aU for coming to eat your Christmas dinner with a lonely 
don-rZ!.- W'"y<^«.p°".>fr- Hemming? ChristoE 
S" °" ""^ *'^' """^ '*"«•' ** y*"" grandmother's 

Christopher, who had no thought of doing either, lauched 
happUy in her face. He wasn't a bit afraid of her now 

Anne hoped, prayed, that the hand on John Hemiliine's 
arm did not tremble. She had an idea that the arm on wWch 

L^nUT"''""?*'^'^*^^*^^^- Would heTno^^J 
logne and thett recent meeting? Should she? It was partly 

He^t^IS\r^ *•"** •*' T*" "°* eoing to ignore anything. 
w De granted. There was unhappiness behind him she per- 



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laa CHRISTOPHER 

ceived, but perceived also that he was not nnhappy. In 
appearance, as she saw him closely, he was hardly changed 
from her lover of years ago. 

But what she chiefly noticed, and what told her more of 
him than he or his looks could tell, was somehow his father's 
aspect that evening. She could guess that their relations as 
father and son were of the sort in which not much would be 
said. She could believe that possibly neither remonstrance 
nor protest had passed the old man's Ups during the time 
which was now over. But the impression which ^e got now 
was of one from whose heart tiiere was rising a song of thanks- 
giving—a psean of which the theme was " This my Son," 
and the burden, " Which was dead and is alive again." 

It was tijt season perhaps, the carols of the night, the words 
which she had heard with her outward ears in church that 
morning. She did not think it. 

Dinner meanwhile was passing cheerfully. The presence 
of Christopher kept the spirit of the occasion alive even for 
his elders, who else, perhaps, for their several reasons, would 
have been indined rather to forget than to foster it. Under 
the influence of it Anne felt her nervousness evaporating. 

" He is none the worse for his accident ? " John Hemming 
said. 

" No," she ansv/ered. " You cured him." 

His smile leapt to hers. 

" I don't know how I aid that." 

" Nor I," she said, shaking her head. 

They spoke under cover of a friendly argument upon some 
local question on which Mrs. Herrick was engaged with 
General Hemming. 

" He cherishes the nail," she added. 

How strange it was, she was thinking again, how 
strange ! This man might have been her husband. Would 
there have been Mrs. St. Jemison then ? But would there 
have been Christopher ? 

She fell into silence for a few moments, but for long enough 
to send a thought on its familiar way to India. So well did faer 
thoiights know their way there ; to a bungalow which she had 
once caUed " home " ; and 8 little graveyard in the hills ! 



CHRISTOPHER 



"3 



" Can you skate ? " she heard Christopher saying. " The 
ice'll bear to-morrow, T believe, but it'll be safe the day after, 
and we're going to. At least, I'm going to learn. Mother 
can." 

Christopher's John Hemming skated. 

" Come and skate here then," said Christopher's grand- 
mother. " Not that any invitation is necessary, for everyone 
knows the lake is always open when there's a frost. Come 
to lunch." 

" Oh, do," cried Cliristopher, excited in a moment, " do. 
Make him come, Mother." 

Christopher all unconsciously had made it possible for him 
to look at Christopher's mother before he answered. It was 
the note of the night before again. She could not but be 
pleased. 

She met his look but did not speak, and he accepted the 
invitation. 

" I'm on your side now about the frost," he said to Chris- 
topher. " We must make it last somehow, mustn't we ? " 

" It's going to," said Christopher. " Robson says so. He 
knows by his bones." 

"Sing to us, Anne," Mrs. Herrick said later. Christopher 
had gone to bed by then, but he was too excited to be asleep, 
and from the distant drawing-room the music stole to him 
presently as he lay awake listening. He was awake an hour 
later when the carriage bearing the departing guests rolled 
ofi, crunching the gravel. He heard the trot of the horses' 
hoofs half-way across the park to where the road turned and 
a little hill interposed between it and the house. 

" What shall I sing ? " said Anne, and went over to the 
piano. John Hemming followed her to light the candles, and 
stayed near when he had done so. She played a few chords 
at random and drifted on a train of thought into the opening 
bars of Adolphe Adam's Cantigue de Noel, which that night 
she knew would be sung at the CathedrfJ at Boulogne. It 
was not wholly its appropriateness to the day that mad-; her 
choose it— not so much that, indeed, m the thought that 



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CHRISTOPHER 



Granny Oxeter would perhaps be listening to it up in the old 
town, and that she was conscious of a sudden wLsh to be in 
touch with one who understood so well. 

■■ MiHuil, CMtitnt, c'ut ekeun stUmmlU 
Ok rhmmu Duu dtumdil juigu' i tmu, 
Pmr effaar la tadu mgintlU 
Bt dt sOHph-s arrher U courroux. 
Lt mmdt mtUr tnisailU itspdranct 
, A cettt nuit fui M duou mt tauvtw 

Peuple i getuwt, atttnds la diUvranee 
Noel, /ttil, wici U RlcUmpteurl" 

As impossible, even without Christopher, to get away from 
the spirit of the festival as to get away from Boulogne ! 
Need she strive to get away from either ? John Hemming, 
sitting near the piano, and with his eyes on her face as she 
sang, did not look to her troubled (any more than, to 
Christopher, he had looked " entangled " or " wretched ") ; 
and Anne herself could not deny that upon this Christmas 
night she, at any rate, was qiuetly happy. 

She sang one or two more songs after that : The Bridge, 
by Miss Lindsay, which was still in every amateur's reper- 
tory then; and, with a vague notion that Christopher 
upstairs might be listening to her, his favourite Ballad of 
Lord Lovel and the Lady Anccbel. 

" Lord Lovel " was a favourite with General Hemming, 
too, it seemed. He rose from his chair by the fire and came 
over to the piano. He stood by his son. He did not look at 
hLn, but his look, as Anne knew, held him for all that. Again 
she became conscious of that inner song. She could not mis- 
take it. It was audible to her as her own singing. She had 
to steady her own voice as she listened. 

" Ttt/ tr€w till Ikty grew It llu lof cflkt clutrch. 
And wktH Ihtji cmtdgnw m kightr 
Thtfgrm into a tnu Ima's itut 
And so wtnJotHtd t^eHtr." 

As dear as this : Which was lost and is found. Which was 
dead and is alive again. 

But was he alive again ? She looked at the unblemished 
face. Had he been dead ? Death even in life most leave its 



CHRISTOPHER 



"5 



mark. Death had not marked him. He was as the three 
who had come up out of the furnace unscathed. Not so much 
as the smell of fire had passed over him. Was he then any 
more alive again than he had been dead ? 
She put the thought from her. 



n 



i 



CHAPTER XVII 

CHRISTOPHER, stire enough, had heard " Lord Lovel 
and Lady Ancebel," and was still awake when his 
mother went up to bed. Trinuner had been called in that he 
might hear what she had to tell of festivities below the salt. 
Yes, they had naturally had turkey too— and, for those who 
liked them, oysters first for that matter, just like the dining- 
room — and, of course, everything else. Crackers with mot- 
toes. Trimmer had kept her caps for him. He should have 
them in the momii^g. But he should have seen Ollenshaw 
in hers I Ollenshaw in a cocked hat with a bunch of paper 
feathers. Ollenshaw in a Scotch bonnet with a paper thistle 
on one side and two little paper ribbons behind 1 BIr. Robson, 
too. He had worn an old lady's hood with paper ruchings, 
and did look a droll. 

" Christopher, Christopher, why aren't you asleep ? Trim- 
mer, are you keeping him awake ? Tell him he's to go to 
sleep this instant." 

But she had to go into his room all the same. Didn't she 
hope ... 7 Yes, on the whole, though she was not sure 
that she liked the cold, and his grandmother was sure that 
she didn't. 

Wasn't she glad Mr. Hemming . . . ? 

Selfishly, if Mr. Hemming instead of Christopher's mother 
would hold Christopher up while he floundered. Now go to 
deep. But one more thing, and one more, and in one minute, 
and so on. 

" I knew it was nonsense about not bemg able to know 
him," said Christopher. 

She left it at that— 4nd him also. In time, it is to be sup- 
posed, he went to sleep. 



The frost held, A few intrepid or foolhardy q>irits ven- 
ii6 



CHRISTOPHER 



I a; 



tnred upon the ice at their own risk the next day, uid a youth 
got a duddng for his pains. All was as it should be. He 
could be held up as an awful example to Christopher, who 
could th IS, with a reasonableness which was demonstrable, 
be kept off till the safer morrow, Skate»— Boxing Day though 
it was— ^ere secured that afternoon ji the neighbouring 
town, where every ironmonger's shop, howsoever closed, could 
yet be seen to have broken out into skates. The word was 
gummed to window-panes ; the ;hingb themselves could be 
seen hanging in clusters within. A ':uiTeptitious business was 
done at a side door. It was enough, Christopher's grand- 
mother said, to set the frost by the heels without further ado. 

The frost was not to be frightened. The thermometer fell 
steadily. A clear keen night gave place to a clear keen day. 
and after breakfast there might have been seen crossmg the 
park a little cavalcade consisting of Anne Herrick, Chris- 
topher, and Trimmer, followed discreetly by wooden Albert, 
the ventriloquist, with a folding chair, a bunch of skates, 
and a gimlet. 

Ten o'clock struck from the clock over the stables as they 
reached the lake. Early as they were, John Hemming was 
there before them. Christopher saw him at once. Anne saw 
him. He skated up as they approached. 

For Christopher, who had only slidden on ice heretofore, a 
whole set of new impressions. These 1 egan with the putting on 
of the skates. He watched with fascination the boring, by 
Albert, of the holes in the heels of his boots. It was like 
having an operation performed upon you yourself — only that 
it did not hurt It felt as if the gimlet was being screwed into 
you. only that you didn't feel more than an insmuating pres- 
sure. Presently, surely, the pomt must come through. But 
it didn't. Horses must feel something like this, he thought, 
when they were being shod. Then the screwing, the whole 
skate being twisted in Albert's competent red hand ; the 
feeling of tension as the screw bit. After that, tight strap- 
ping. Discomfort enough for cnaccustomed feet. 

Then the hobbling walk to the ice ; the ice itself ; the 
pride that went before a fall ; the acceptance of rejected aid 



m 

HI 



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ia8 



CHRISTOPHER 



— from his mother, from John Hemming, from Trimmer, 
from wooden Albert. We leave him to his first floundering. 

It wanted but the feel under her feet of the blades cutting 
into the elastic ice as she swung out on to the lake, to tell Anne 
once for all that, if much seemed to have happened to her, 
and, thus, many years to have passed over her head, she was 
not so very much older than the eager Christopher himself. 
Slcating in that ladylike age was one of the few sports open 
to women. It was Anne's one accomplishment. Like a good 
swimmer she struck out confidently, sure, in spite of the 
lapse of time since last she had skated, that she could skate. 
The outside edge was the limit, as yet, of her modest attain- 
ment ; but what she could do she did well, and what she 
had been able to do she could do now. Her spirits rose. 
People were amVing. A carriage or two drove up to the 
bank of the lake, and in effect emptied themselves on to 
the ice. The whir of the sk^.ting rang on the pleasant air. 
Sunshine gilded the day. 

Anne recognised a few people. Here were neighbours of 
her mother-in-law's who had called upon her when she had 
stayed at Herrickswood as a bride. Some of them recognised 
her. The usual civilities were exchanged. Christopher had 
to be shown to one or two of these. They reminded him of 
the people to whom he used to be bidden to give his right 
hand— visitors, in short, which is just what, so far as he was 
concerned, they were. He got back as soon as might be to 
his floundering. Hemming took him in hand from time to 
time — ^bidding him put his feet together, towed him gently, 
or, holding him under the arms, pushed him in front of him. 
Christopher at such moments was in the seventh heaven of 
deUght. His laughter rang out. Anne, looking at the big 
man and the little boy, felt again the tightening at her heart 
which she had felt when she stood at the foot of Christopher's 
bed months ago at Boulogne. 

" He'll skate in no time," Hemming said, bringing the boy 
back to her after one such round. 

" I nearly knocked him down," said Christopher gleefully. 

" Don't let him tease you," said Christopher's mother. 



CHRISTOPHER ,,9 

John Hemming delivered Christopher to his flounderinf 
and Trimmer. 

"Mr. Hemming says I'm better every time. Where's 
Albert? ' 

Albert had gone back to the house. 

" Oh, well, then you'll do." said Christopher. 

" Do indeed ! " said Trimmer good-humouredly. " There 
give me your hand, sir." 

John Hemming went back to Christopher's mother. 

" WUl you skate with me ? " 

He had not asked her to skate with him, though he had 
skated beside her. 

" Yes, John, of course." 

They swung out together. 

Impossible to withstand the pleasure of this exercise I 
Anne felt her cheeks flush and her eyes sparkle, as she gave 
heraelf up to it. She was a girt again skating at Cheltenham, 
and known as the Pretty Miss Oxeter— someone Christopher 
had never known or dreamed of ; the crinoUned " Belle " 
of a certain Bachelors' Ball ; the coveted partner of a season's 
very amateurish croquet. " Long, long ago," as the song 
said? Not a bit of it! Not any time at all, measured by her 
feelings that day. Christopher was some younger brother 
Md she as always the youngest Miss Oxeter. She sent a 
thought over the water to Laura and Catherine whose pet she 
had been before she married, half wishing they could see 
her ; and to her mother, wholly wishing that she could. 

Then she remembered that Laura and Catherine would be 
shocked. Not at her skating— though even that might sur- 
pnse them— but at her company. That brought her up with 
a jerk. '^ 

There were more people now. Mrs. Herrick came down 
m her pony-chair at noon and looked on for a time, and asked 
a few of her more intimate friends up to lunch. She wore the 
inevitable seal-skin of prosperity or average prosperity, and 
a bonnet on which there were bugles, which jingled as she 
moved her head in talking. A groom, who walked beside the 
chair when he drove the fat pony, stood to attention as hU 
mistress held her court. 



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130 



CHRISTOPHER 



Everyone came up to speak to the old woman, but she had 
her favourites, it was plain. Anne, like Christopher, no longer 
afraid of her, could yet see why she had been. She remem- 
I red how she had agreed with Christopher that his other 
grandmother was " moat " his grandmother, and was glad 
now to think that she had recanted abnoat as soon a* the 
words were spoken. 

" If the frost lasts I think you'll have to give me a few 
more days," Mrs. Herrick said, smiling, as she watched Chris- 
topher's scuttling. He was getting past the first stages. 
" It's Sunday again to-morrow, remember, in this week of 
Sundays, and it's plain that boy wants to skate." 

They were to have left on Monday. The rooms in Ebury 
Street were engaged indeed from then. 

" You tempt me," Anne said. 

" Stay, dear,' as long as you will — as long as you can. It's 
a great pleasure to me to have Kit's boy with me, and Kit's 
boy's mother. There, think it over. I'm going on for my 
drive." 

The groom took the reins and his place beside the chair, 
and Mn. Herrick was drawn from the scene. There was rime 
on the grass, and the equipage, dark against the white and 
clear-cut as a silhouette, could be seen, making its slow round 
of the park as its occupant looked at her trees or her roads, 
her fences or her gates. Woe betide the perfunctory or th^ 
careless workman on the Herrickswood estate. 

Trimmer, enjoying herself quietly amid the general bustle, 
thought suddenly what a Pair her mistress and Mr. Hemming 
made when they skated together. The thought came sud- 
denly, but what led to it was probably gradual enough. The 
mere sight of them with crossed hands sweeping rhythmically 
across the ice would not have given her the feeling of one who 
makes a discovery, or who sees what others may be looking 
at but do not see. The two were not, indeed, skating together 
at the moment when Trimmer received her impression. On 
the contrary, her mistress was standing at the edge of the 
ice talking to one of the ladies who had gathered round Mrs. 
Herrick's pony-chair ; and Mr. Hemming was tracing won- 



CHRISTOPHER jj, 

derful ud beautiful figures with a »tuinpy Uttle penon, 
though an accomplished skater, whom Albert had pointed 
out to her as one of the big-wigs of the neighbourhood. The 
unavoidable contrast presented by these two, his tall shape- 
liness and the big-wig's sturdy squatness, may have had iu 
share in throwing Trimmer's thoughts back to the last com- 
bination of which one of them had been part. Such a look- 
back must of necessity have shown congruity for ill-assort- 
ment, and thus have appeared to point out, to lay stress 
upon, what was, after aU, for aU the world to see. But, at 
the back of the mind of Trimmer making her trite observation, 
lay who knows what of other, but unregistered, impressions! 
preparing her for what she had nonetheless supposed herself 
unprepared to see ? A Pair. Why, what a Pair I 

Trimmer leant upon the handle of the broom which she 
had been plying between times to make herself useful and 
keep herself warm. Christopher wanted less and less help as 
the morning went on. He had ceased to shuffle and walk 
upon his skates, and was banning to feel his legs. He would 
strike out and make headway till a fall brought him back to 
starting-point. Trimmer, leaning on her broom, watched 
him alMently. 

A Pair in truth— though such a thought might never have 
entered, might never enter, the head of either of them. They 
seemed picked out from the rest for all that, if in reality they 
were not. There were many better skaters on the ice than 
Trimmer's mistress, one or two as good as Mr. Hemming. 
Yet somehow you found yourself putting them together] 
didn't you? They looked best, it was certain, together! 
With no one else, that is, did either " match " as with the 
other. Was it the lady's-maid in Trimmer finding her out ? 
What a Pair they Made . . . words surely to be spoken from 
over a sewing-machine ; at the wardrobe door, the arms full 
of skirts ; across a dressing-table, the head craned towards 
a window I Lady's-maidery, Trimmer knew it. The thought, 
however, insisted upon expression, and expression upon this 
phrase and no other. Such a Pair ! 

" You looked so nice, 'm, skating," she permitted herself 
that night, as she was putting her mistress to bed. 






n ! 



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CHRISTOPHER 



" Did I, Trimmer ? I'm very glad you thouglit so." 

" I'm sure everyone thouglit so. Indeed, I heard the re- 
mark passed more than once. There must be some satisfaction 
in doing a thing which — ^when you do it gracefully, of course 
— ^makes you look so much better than anybody else." 

Christopher's mother smiled. She knew her limitations, 
and that she would never be anjrthing more than an aver- 
agely good skater. She was not of the stufi that those who 
really excel are made of. Christopher might be. He had 
not been wrong when he said that in good time he would beat 
her. 

" Ah, you're prejudiced, my good Trimmer. I'm not bad 
considering how little opportunity I've had of practising. 
But I should never go far " 

" Oh, distance," said Trimmer contemptuously. " It's 
gracefulness I'm talking about — all that matters for a lady." 

" Well, I didn't mean distance. I meant progress. Now 
he," she nodded in the direction of Christopher's room, 
" really did make some progress to-day. Mrs. Herrick has 
asked us to stay on if the frost lasts " 

" I hope it will, 'm," said Trimmer. 

It was accepting the imagmary situation. 



CHAPTER XVIII 

^17" AS it imaginary ? Trimmer, of course, really thought 
VT so,thci'5hshemightPairthe suitable to infinity. She 
even took hersta to task for presuming to think at aU. Anne 
Hemck did think so, told herself so, insisted. It was because 
It must be. She naturaUy took herself to task, or rather con- 
tinued to do so. The frost lasted. She saw him every day 
skated with him, talked to him ; got away from Herricls^ 
wood safely. 

Safely ? There was something then ?— some sort of a situa- 
bon? Certainly not. Everyone in the world might have 
heard what they said to each other on the ice or elsewhere 
Certamly there was no situation. But she drew a long breath 
m the train, and many in the lodgings in Ebury Street 

She was very sorry to leave Herrickswood. She had not 
altogether looked forward to her visit, but had, as she found 
greatly enjoyed it. WhoUy new relations seemed to have 
estabhshed themselves between her and her mother-in-law 
It was as U, somehow by reason of Christopher, each had 
seen the other in a new light. The more she thought of her 
visit-reviewed it in detaU— the more she knew that she had 
enjoyed it. It had been a time of quiet well-being witii an 
undercunient of excitement. (The excitement remained.) 
A thought of Herrickswood gave her not the severe haU its 
seventy modified by evergreens and red berries, not tiie 
candle-ht drawing-room of state, net even her own room with 
,^f*?* four-post bed, not the old oak or tiw tapestaies. but 
a Uttie mtimate room in which an oW lady witii a black velvet 
glove mended ratiier tiian tended a blaring fire. Some such 
picture would always hencefortii present Herrickswood to 

She drew her breath aU tiie same. The undercurrent of 
133 



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'34 



CHRISTOPHER 



excitement had not made itself felt for nothing. Herricks- 
wood stood for danger as once Boulogne for disturbance. 

Another rattling four-wheeler with straw in the bottom of 
it took the travellers to Ebuiy Street. Another just such 
meal as before regaled them upon their arrival. To the 
same sounds did Christopher fall asleep. Even the dripping 
in the dstem at the top of the stairs was still to be heard. 
After the silence of the country the wonderful noises sounded 
a little louder, but that was all the difference ; and the 
same sense of being in the very very heart of things held 
him. 

Christopher, with a sovereign in his pocket and the world 
before him, did not employ time present in vainly regretting 
time past. He had enjoyed every minute of Herrickswood, 
and now was enjoying every minute of London. All was 
fish that came to his net. For Robson and his efficient 
wooden satellites, for Mrs. Wellington of the housekeeper's 
room, for Ollenshaw, and all the rest of the orderly staff of 
well-trained servants, there were a landlord in rusty black, 
a landlady with a perpetual smile and a chenille net, and the 
usual Mary-Anne of all lodging-houses of that day. These 
persons, however, jointly and severally succeeded in inter- 
esting the ever-interested Christopher. 

If Boulogne had seemed wonderful, what of London? 
Surely all the people in the world must be there together. 
Some of the streets ran people as rivers nm water. Not all. 
Ebury Street was never crowded, nor were the adjacent 
streets with the great squares in between, Eaton Square 
where " grand " people lived (and his Grandmother Herrick 
used to have ^ house), and Belgrave Square where grander. 
Nor was Grosvenor Place crowded, though it could be, his 
mother said, when on a certain day in the spring the bal- 
conies were filled with gentlemen and ladies to watch other 
people coming back from the Derby. But Oxford Street 
and Regent Street and a street called the Strand 1— and 
another street called Fleet Street, through which Christopher 
passed when he went to St. Paul's ! In those the people 
were numberless— like the sands of the sea or the haire oi 



CHRISTOPHER ,35 

yonr head, as it said in the Bible. Christopher gasped for 
sheer amazement and delight. This was the London of his 
wUdest dreams. Not the least part of its fascination was an 
unacknowledged fear of it. TUngs happened in London- 
murders, mysterious disappearances. ChUdren were stolen 
for their clothes, " enticed " down courts and alleys, dragged 
away, pulled in perhaps through such doorways as he him- 
self passed when he was out, and nothing more was ever 
heard of them. Someone called " Mrs. Tomson " (though 
how he had heard of her I) had lately been hanged for whole- 
sale chUd-mtirder. She buried the Uttle bodies of her victuns 
in quicklime, and was altogether a creature of horror to 
haunt the young imagination. He looked for Mrs. Tomsons 
on his walks. Many harmless black-clad women were Mrs. 
Tomsons, he was sure. Then there were Pick-pockets whc n 
you were to Beware of, with every other sort of rogue and 
knave. You might be rubbing shoulders with Pick-pockets 
without knowing it. They were trained, according to his 
mother (or so he understood), by an old Jew called Fagin, of 
whom he was to read one day in something called Oliver 
Tmst. Christopher suspected a Fagin in every shabby old man 
who had a hooked nose, and a Pick-pocket in every gutter- 
snipe. Perhaps pockets really were oftener rifled in the 
seventies. Trimmer, at any rate, had the distinction of 
having hers picked upon this very visit— to the tune, hap- 
pily, of no more than a few pence, however, since of her 
forethought she was carrying the bulk of her wealth in her 
glove. Christopher knew the thief was one of two (probably 
innocent) persons between whom she had sat in an omnibus 
because one had a patch over his eye and the other a hole iii 
his elbow. 

Trimmer could only ejaculate, " How lucky I'd emptied 
my purse ! " adding from time to time that, if they'd only 
known it, she had been carrying half a sovereign in gold at 
that very moment. 

" But there," she said, " I never heard of anyone pickine 
a glove." •' r 6 

Christopher and his mother agreed with her that the thine 
was as good as a lesson. 



ffFl 



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136 



CHRISTOPHER 



ir 



ji'i 

Pi! 



So London answered every expectation. Christopher 
would indeed have sometliing to tell the stay-at-home aunts 
when he got back to Boulogne. He had visited the capital 
of England to good purpose. It had not denied him. 

The day after the picked-pocket Trimmer started for 
Birmingham, where, as it had been arranged, she was to 
spend a few days with her parents, and Chi^topher and 
his mother pursued their sight-seeing alone. Every morning 
after breakfast they would start out on their excursions. 
Sometimes they would lunch out, choosing a pastry-cook's 
shop for their modest repast, and, in holiday mood, eating 
with impunity many things ordinarily called unwholesome. 
Madame Tussaud's Exhibition was visited, and there in a 
room known as the Chamber of Horrors, and costing an 
extra sixpence to enter, Christopher saw an effigy of Mrs. 
Tomson heiself-^lately added ! He thrilled, but was vaguely 
disappointed. He had pictured her this, you see, and she 
was notably that. He saw a respectable little woman in a 
brown dress with nothing sinister about her but her veiy 
white face. She did not alarm him except when he met her 
in dreams. 

The Zoological Gardens were visited — and, lo, they were 
the Bwl-Shop on the Port in apotheosis ! For the dogs in 
the cages there were lions; for the cats, tigers; for the 
birds, such winged things, some of them, as he had never 
imagined. But all were friends of his already. He went an 
ecstatic way from cage to cage, from house to house. Per- 
haps the greatest excitement lay in wondering whither 
each path in the gardens led, what each fresh house as it 
discovered itself amongst the trees would be found to hold. 
On a path near the parrot-bouse he ran up against one of 
his schoolfellows, and that, too, was a great adventure. 
Oh, London which could yield such adventures was won- 
derful ! 

London was all-capable and was to yield him others. 

He saw Mrs. St. Jemison one day. He was sure of it. 
That was the day he went to the Pdytechnic where the 
diving-bell was. She was driving with a gentleman in a 
victoria. She looked different somehow from Mr, Hem- 



CHRISTOPHER ,3, 

mfag-s Mrs St. Jemison. But that it had been she who 
flasted^t behmd two high-stepping horses, he was qJte 

h/i!?"*^. "c?'.?,!^*"^ *••** ^'''^ J"** «*» Mr. Hemming," 
tn^nf, ; H ^ hav..—" He loolced at his mothered 
broke off in what more he had been about to say 
I thought I told you. Christopher—" 

" Yes, but not in London." 

" Well, in London, too." 

J^h^J^";'^' ^J^^ '"'^ "°* mistaken, Mrs. St. Jemi- 
h^aSn'^fl^nt!''"'''^'^'^^- ^nne wished\his 
And she asked he.self why. But somehow wished . 

I Jln^K°P '* Z"^ P*^ "* *h« wonderfulness of 
London-where everything was wonderful. Nowhere else 
he was sure, would you come across people in tWs way* 
Perha^ ttey would even see Mr. H^^ng. TWs Te 
r^ to say aloud. His mother had to^coUert her 
!?£?. ^""^ '''' "^ *'^** *^ ^''""Kht That was ve^ 

th " ^uT ^. ''*"• ^ **^ Eddy Mason ! " He named 

the schoolboy they had met in Regent's Park 

' So was he what ? " 

" Unlikely," said Christopher. 

"We'll go and have tea," said his mother. 

Every second shop then was not a tea-shop. It took them 
some minutes to find one. 

Miah* ^*^*2'u*' was to be proved more correct than she 

Kel^LTd-^T *°'^'''^' ''''' '* "^ generaS the 
Unhkely that did happen ?-more. that it was for their very 
uahkehness that the things which happened did happing 

They came upon him face to face at Hyde Park Comer 
^ ^wondered," he said, " whether I should meet you =!ny- 

for"tt™ "a f ^ ^^i^"" ^ 'P*°* *^ ^^ f«^/J»ys looking 
Jor them. A Ipg of his peregrinations would have record^ 



I*' 



11 ! 






^•ii 'i 



CHRISTOPHER 

, He bad been to Madame Tussaud's 



lliil'i 



138 

an erratic ci 

even. „ 

" I said we shovad meet you— at least, I said we might, ' 
said Cbristopher breatiUessly. " But Mother didn't think 
it was likely." 

" Christopher met a school friend," Anne hastened to say, 
" and argued by analogy. If he made one unexpected en- 
counter You see ? " 

" I see," said John Hemming. " And there was some- 
thing in your argument after all, wasn't there, little chap ? " 

"Things happen for Christopher," Anne said, smiling. 
She was beginning to think so. 

" We're going to the Christy Minstrels," said Christopher, 
still breathlessly. " Couldn't you come too ? Couldn't he. 
Mummy ? " ' „ . . ,. 

" Christopher, don't bother people. Mr. Hemming doesn t 
want to go to Christy Minstrels. They aren't the sort of 

thing " 

" Aren't they ? " said John Hemming, looking at her. 

" Doesn't he ? " . . „ 

" He does," said Christopher. " I know he does, jlother. 
Aime looked from one to the other. ^ 

" In the daytime ? On a fine afternoon Uke this*? Chris- 
topher and I are country cousinsr-or exilfe home again." 
" Mayn't I be an exile ? Home again too ? " 
He did not mean it, or anyway, quite mean it. But Anne 
in a moment saw his father and heard again the silent song 
of thanksgiving. 
" If it really wouldn't bore you." 

His answer was to smile at Christopher and to call a cab. 
They all got in and he gave the direction. 

After the Christy Minstrels, it was the Tower ; after the 
Tower, the Pantomime at Drury Lane ; after the Pantomime. 
Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. John 
Honming came with them to aU these. How this came 
about Anne hardly knew. It seemed to be Christopher who 
was responsible. 

So slipped the days away. They hurried towards— Anne 



CHRISTOPHER ,39 

faww not what I But that ibey hurried towards some- 
thing she knew only too weU. Two-thiids of the visit were 
WW. She b^an to look to Boulogne as she had once looked 
to London. It was Boulogne now that stood for safety 

Chnstopher, living to a running accompaniment of panto- 
mime tunes, of the tunes of the Moore and Bureess Min- 
strels, with imported aire from Offenbach behind aU saw 
nothing of what was under his eyes. There was nothiiig to 
see, in a sense, and certainly nothing to hear. It was only 
bis mother who knew and whose heart beat the faster He 
if he thought at aU, thought that John Hemming was'ther^ 
because he, Chnstopher, was. In ihe supreme egoism of 
youth, he had not come yet to realise any existence entirely 
mdependent of his own. •' 

" You're coming to-morrow, aren't you ? " he said every 
day, and Anne sometimes checked him, and sometin es did 
not. It seemed useless to protest. As she looked to Boulogne 
so she looked now to the return of Trimmer, whose abswice' 
seemed in a manner to leave her without shelter. Not that 
she wanted shelter exactly, or wanted anything. She was 
enjoying the dangers of London as she had enjoyed the 
dangers of Herrickswood. Her Ufe was fuller for this new 
element that had come into it. But . . . It was Trimmer's 
own But of an earlier occasion. 

Trimmer wrote from Birmingham. She too had been to 
a Pantomune, and had wished for Master Christopher She 
wished particularly that he could have seen Cinderella's 
ugly Sisters, who would have made him laugh. Trimmer's 
mother had got quite a stitch in her side, and Trimmer's 
brothers httie girl a hiccough. But both had admitted 
that the game was worth the candle. Trimmer had been to 
a party at her cousin's and had played games. Her cousin 
Jiad worn an evening-dress which Trimmer thought was 
givmg herself great airs, and which was quite out of place— 
besid^ being in very doubtful taste. The party itself how- 
_^ver, had been very agreeable. She was enjoying her holiday 
but was counting the days till she should get back all the 
same. =- ".c 

"Yon can't think how I miss Master Christopher," was 



Hi 



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I40 



CHRISTOPHER 



her postscript for her mistrew's private eye. " And I can't 
bear to thiiUc, madam, of your having to do yoar own hair, 
I can't, indeed." 

" Deal Trimmer," Christopher's mother said to herself as 
she read. 

In the end the good creattire came back a day before her 
hcdiday was up. Her nostalgia— a homesickness, at home, 
for the home of her adoption— would not allow her to stay 
her time out. 

Anne Herrick kissed her upon her arrival— a sight which 
Hi: gave Ctiristopher a carious feeling of surprise mixed with 

pleasure. He took Trimmer for granted himself, but though 
he on his part only greeted her with " Hulloa," and barely 
submitted to her embrace, he was genuinely attached to 
her. I 

Tears had sprung to Trimmer's eyes at her mistress's 
loss. 

" 'OUdays are all very well 'm, and I'm sure I've enjoy^H 
myself tremendously, but there's nothing like getting back 
'm, is there ? " 

Her mistress rallied her. 

" What will you do when he goes to school ? " 

Trimmer shook her head. 

" He needn't think it's him only," she said. " It isn't— 
though once you've been a nurse. . . . Well, there I And 
to think I shall be brushinc; your hair again, 'm, this very 
evening." 

Yes, Trimmer was one of the Family — no doubt about 
that. Christopher sat up a Uttle later to hear all her news. 
She came back from Birmingham full of adventures. She 
had had a proposal amongst others. At the party she had 
met the gentleman who paid her this attention. Like the 
piano-timer, he was in a superior position — a durk, in fact, 
m the Post Office. 

" What did you say to him ? " asked Christopher. 

" That I knew when I was well <^, my predons." 

" What did he say ? " 

" Asked me to think it uver." 

" And wiU you ? " 



CHRISTOPHER 



14" 



" I Mid I could do that while he waited." 

' Shall you tell the piano-tuner ? " 

"Better not " said Trimmer. " Better keep someone in 
reserve, I thmlc, agamst I want him." 

So Trimmer talked. She listened too, and heard aU the 
London domgs. She heard of Mr. Hemming's presence with- 
out showing surpnse-which may have shown that there 
was surprise to be felt. 

" In London," she said. " Fancy that now." No more. 

Shelter? How? Anne could not have told. Yet with 
Trimmer back assuredly she felt more secure. There was 
°^^*l '"t^ ¥u °''*' "'* **" ^« *°"»'l be in sanctuary. 
h?^f^°!!? , ^*'" f""« ^wta«-«»m in the green-shutterd 
house^the lamp, the ComhiU Magazine from Merridew's: 
an atb-active picture. Even if you were young it would be 
^ble to grow old genUy, books helping-work, and the 
faithful Trimmer somewhere at hand. She saw herself and 
Trimmer growing old together. By degrees perhaps, as the 
sending for her from the workroom became more frequent. 
Trimmer would change insensibly from a maid to a com- 
pamon. Christopher would be out in the world, of course, 
thoughin what capacity she did not know, and letters would 
come from him, some of which she would read to Trimmer 
some, keep to herself. They would talk of him, she and 
innuner, and of their wonderful memories of his childhood 
A f-^t«rbing things put away-they would grow old! 
And then the sight of a tall figure coming dov/n the street, 
or the sound of a voice, or the touch of a hand, would show 
™?f '« ^1 f^^* P'**^' ^ wWch growing old would be 
put ofi mdefimtely. In this picture, life would be seen as a 
vigorous strenuous force canying aU before it, an outward 
Pwhai^ an upward, movement ; or as a business in itself 
absorbing compelling, not a mere acquiescent drifting with 
wad or tide. In this picture Trimmer did not let her whole 
moften^ "^^^^ ^'^ piano-tuner, or her clurk, or 

T^ere were presently but three more days; but two 
there was only to-morrow. Then it was found that Chris- 



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iMill 



■41 CHRISTOPHER 

topher, who had been ahnott evetywhere ebe, had not been 
to the Crystal Palace. He ooold hanlly have onunined more 
into his holidays. But the Crystal Palac»— to hitve risked 
missing that I There was, happily, still time. The Ciystal 
Falaoe, it was decided, should crown the visit. 



CHAPTER XIX 

'pHE Ciyrtal Palace for Christopher began in London 
1^ ol2f ^. Booking-office where, wonderfuUy, you asked 
lL,^h ^'^1^ ^,*^ ^*"'^°"' ^^ heard LnJ^ 
t^ ^ r** ^ ^"^- '^« J°"™«y « the crowded 
^™ ir^ !!: "^ P»rt of the day's pleasure. One mitl- 
r H^^ ''^r *T ^'"' '"'' *his lay in the fact that 
tw hH!^*^ "°J '™°'*" °' *he proposed jaunt, and 
that bs (Christopher's) mother, for some reason, would not 

^ ^ "tZ^ ^^ *** "^"^ *° have been settled 
alter Mr. Hemming s departure on the pi«»iing day He 
h«d spent the momi,^ with them at the National Gallery, 
and rt waj. not tm the afternoon that this excursion^ 

ZT^H i^T'^'^J' *J^PP°i°t«<l. Christopher was sure, 
andjiad been inclined to argue ; but his motter would not 

J'^'T^J* ^ herself somewhat exereised. She knew 
though n«jfttag had been said about the morrow, that S 
nwigwonld be expecting to see them as usual. For the ^ 
rea«« that nothing had been said she knew it. and Z^ 
^t he would in truth, as Christopher m-ged, be diUpp<^mlS 
Yet the evming had passed and she could not bringhei^ 
townte. How could she write? It would be like^^S 

hearts, moreover she was afraid of this last day. In the 
end, fa case he should call, she left a message for him wSh 

m^W be It was the most (and the least) she could do but 
It id not set her mind at rest. 

ThS'aSted!" *^ °"*"^- "^^y '««=h«l ^e station. 

co£*. 1^ ? *^* Christopher had expected? Crystal 

colmrjis, trandncent as b«ley sugar, cut-g£s pillars, ttid! 

I4J 



' 

1 f 



i f 



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,44 CHRISTOPHER 

transpawnt walls ? Beami. maioniy, floor*. tUlrcaiM, tU 
of clearest glut ? The New Jennalein in fine old p«te ? 
The Heavenly City wMiioned of a tingle diamond ? A palace 
of carved ice? Something of all theae. His flrat impteaaion 
was one of stupendous disappointment. This, the Ci^tal 
Palace 1 It was only a large greenhouse. Crjwt^ ' Th«« 
were panes like these in the greenhouses at Herridnwood. 
He looked up at the vaulted roof with a feeUng of personal 

^"sloping approach up the long covered way from the 
station had been well enough. It had whetted cwioaity. 
Every moment he had expected the virion to break t^n 
him ta its glory. At any bend he had thought to see the 
crystal portico.,. . . 

A greenhouse I . , u i 

Hegrew^d- He was too old to burst into tears. But a 
conservatory, a greenhouse 1 . . . 

" Don't you like it ? " 

His mother and Trimmer, both uncomprehending, saw. 

He would not explain, and wandered about gloomily for a 
whUe. They exchanged glances over his head. He w^ed 
beside them, or just behind them-not ahead. ^Hi» ™»tt'«' 
pursuing a train of thought of her own (which in pdnt of 
fact pureued her !), beUeved him to be regretting the absence 
of John Hemming. Trimmer fancied that the excitement 
of the wast few weeks was finding him out— beginmng to 
tell upon him. But in reaUty he was like people at some 
play Se title or description of which has misled or /njreb- 
fied them. The spirit of the place had not revealed itself to 
him He was outside its intimacy ; kept outside by bar- 
riers of his own unconscious building. It was quiie suddeiUy 
that the barriers, like the walls of Jericho at the sound of the 

*^Stnuiipet sound? Not exacUy. For it wis nothing 
more than a piano somewhere near at hand which, breaking 
into one of the rattUng tunes of the recent pantomune and 
of the London streets, started him forward on eager legs in 
ite metalUc direction. He was " ahead " in a -no^*- N° 
more acquiescent goose-step, no more laggmg I The piano 



CHRISTOPHER 



•45 

J^.?* •"f •=:»*»";,. A piece of music tay open on the Wd- 
tagrett and reading from it a haughty young lady ^ 
^^^J'^J^* PMng the son^oftte moment A 
little aowd lirtened. She wet her first finger at her lip when 

S i£?^J^»'^ f"*"*^ *» *• freemasomy of 
tne pu*e. Almost at once he became aware of a verv net. 
work of sounds enclosed under the glass^f In t^ u 
you might distinguish the poppi^Ta^ppL" ex^lSS 
far the tempting of some chU^Tt1,me st^TbS aS 
whfr «f a humming-top, the tinkle of many musica^bi,x^ 
with the sound of other pianos in distant pla4. Th«e w^a 

<!^*?^S™'"« ^•""' * *''« Wonders of the MicrosooM 
™^Smith's Panorama of the Holy Land, of the s^H^^-' 
STh. Vf^.T ^ reminiscence for Christopher of the n^ 
of the fair at Boulogne. " Take your Seats for the Ma?^ 
loj« Grotto FamUy, The World's Cha.m,ion sfad^S 
Performers." At Boulogne there had hJn . r>,. • ^ 
the SlarJc Win. ,.rf»k T* " :"*"* "*<* "««> » Champion of 
I- ^7? . '^*'* **•* *=""<»" ■««>« of Milly Ethel who 
fa addition to wire-walking claimed to be ma^rtk Ind 

SL '^t^' 7J- *'»« '«^"8 of the bijC^ haJ 
MM, Entrer, Messieurs, Dames I Allons vol ce nhAio. 
mje art«tique au salon de Mees Millee EtX, %t^. 

^ inf^J'^P'^'; Not so much difference in tte 
^The fatt under a roof. Other sounds came from the 
refrwhrnent places, whence proceeded a continual clatter 
of plates kmves and forks, cups and saucers, withthe^oc^' 
sional shivering of glasses on a tray. The sound of^ 
^ns rattling into saucers was as rLn^t Tthat of ft! 

sound of the sea behind other sounds, was heard th*. t«m^ 
or shuffle of feet on the boards. TTiaT^W^ h^tllS 
was as good as that which he ndinquishe^ ? It^^ne trt 
h wt?ot:?°l'*'"'?*r*'^' Later fromre^:,^a^ 
to^lL bSl';; T^^^ '* ^^ "°* <=^'«d Crystal whoUy 

S^^oi'^didS^de^-t;.*'^ ^-^^^ '^' - 



^^'1 



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CHRISTOPHER 



«46 

His mother and Trimmer saw the remarkable change m 
Mm anTtoTheir turn did some accepting without, however. 

destroyed by Vesuvius, and the Perionnmg Fleas fed on the 
Man's Arm. 

meet at if people got separated from the rest oi »«£»"> 
uSer tte CMc. it seeiAed. was a phrase in very constant 

"Ve'^nfS^e day was. of course, the pant^nime. 
ToS^d^ ftat Ae whote of the forenoon set, as sunflo^« 
S^tothe'U. There was lunch to be eaten m the mn 
t^ however, and they now began to search for a re^au 
^: wWch should satisfy their "odest «q™«^ Th^ 
wanted a sort of tea for luncheon-which was indeed wnat 

""Se^SnieT'^ eJSS. waiter took their orders 

tea There was nothing like t^, she *«<1. to pck you up 
wL you were tired. The order Pv«»' »* Jf *''X r « 
waited It was not ungrateful, however, to sit s^n after » 
much waLiR They watched laden trays going to otto 



CHRISTOPHER 



'47 

bronght forth for a period, but at last came the trav Th« 
waiter apportioned the blame to the " bXr He^oad^* 

heJ^rThirh^S- tE^eTdtSlir S i ^ 
w^ed for the froth C'down ifhislCnd S^kttg 

" Enjoying yourself, Christc .her ? " 
" Rather." 

dragged children/the hand^^dS^'dr^S^orir;! 
at.^ mother and aunts. An occasional^a^ Si 

ate^* three at their marble-topped table watched as they 

m^s^iJtSilSy^ "^""^ ^°P'* '«^" *<>■—." Trin.- 
f hiV*;^ "^^ Christopher remembered from time to time • 

mer Xn V k!^? '^" ^°^ Hemming in the lurch. Trim- 

rmofh^°air^= ''^^*''''^"'' •'^-' '- ^ — ^; 

sheoulM tohaVeL^^nT"^ ™P°^'"" *° ^*«- "ut 
not sX w?/ ^"''"- '^l"*' "sproaching herself, did 

■n ner heart of hearts that she could not whoUy be acouitted 
of a desue, howsoever blind, to evade issu« -nl^^ 

in not writing *-v r u TT "~ '™6 then, and 

■n not wnting to John Hemming she had given htoi, a^ Z 



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148 



CHRISTOPHER 



abominable phrase went, the slip. It was trae. It was 
partly true, anjrway. She had even been relieved the day 
before when no mention had been made of the morrow. 

"Ah well," said Trimmer. "We're veiy happy over 
there when all's said and done." 

" I don't want to go back either," said Christopher, 
answering what she had not said. 

Ungratefvd 1 Had he forgotten the sea and the quays and 
the gutters ? 

" You're quite right. Trimmer. We're very happy there. 
I don't think we could have been happier anywhere. When 
I think of bits of the old town— the sheltered feeling. . . . 
And the Fienph people. Think of some of the market women. 
Granny Oxeter's chicken woman, Christopher: "Comma 
du Sucre ! " " Tendre comme un pigeon I " " Pour vous, 
Madame ! " The persuasiveness ! And Isabelle at the Fish 
Market. And the old man at the watchmaker's. Heaps of 
people. All friends. It's not grateful." 

" There's the London boat," admitted Christopher ; " and 
the water that squirts out of the lock gates." 

"And Merridew's, 'm, where you can get the Family 
•ErM." 
" Everything," said Anne. 

"I spoke without thinking," said Trimmer. "It was 
only another way of saying how much I'd enjoyed the hoB- 
day." 
" It's not over yet," said Christopher. 
It wasn't, nor Christopher's mother out of the wood. 
What was the " slip " (when you became aware of it) but a 
thing to circumvent 7 

One of the stream of passers-by detached himself suddenly, 
for two persons, from the rest. Simultaneously Christopher 
and his mother saw him. Christopher just saw him. To 
Anne it was as it used to be with Christopher, when waking 
out of the sleep he saw stiange faces turn to the faces he 
knew best. She had been looking at a tall figure in the pass- 
ing crowd when under her eyes the figure became fot 
familiar, and then (with a stab at her heart), John Henuning 
himself. 



CHRISTOPHER 



Trimmer's " Where's he „«♦, "°* ''*^ <*«»>« so. 
Trimmer's eyes foUow^£„"* *"' "^^e^Hl itself, as 
^nmmer gave a littie " Oh ! " 

t^Z Zn"^- ««-^ ^^' stoop. He w. comin, 
th;'cr'S';^^^J,r^.Je had said t^o„ ,,,„ 
whether I should meeTyTu" ^°^°"' ^ ^°°dered 

Hewassmilmg. Amie smiled too. 
s<J? Jrhtl".^£?';,tr/- JitUe Ume,y as it 
Crystal Palace." '^ forgotten aU about the 

" And all about me." 

^No ^' ^ ™^^' *o Trimmer, 
i^ £• a ^^ ^^^Kig*^ ?' ''^-!1^« - blush- 
'*th„°^ again. I diS't ^'J^ ^^^^^^^ *««- 

John Hemming said, " H'm." "^^ y*"*- 

much as Christy MinstielsT P*°*°"^« too-ahnost m 

"Then come with us," said Ann« ., ., 
Innch ? " ' **"* Anne. Have you hs.1 

He shook his head 

He caught the wJter's^r 

«ndvviches aS a I^Sl^ ^"* T^* *°rt work of a few 

^J^y to sta^Ta^XcK "^"^ ^""^ "^ ^ 
TT»e giant curtail w^b^^* »8 soon as the othere. 

'^ shut in the spaS XTtedTf .h^r *""'' ^^"^^ ^°t <>« 

»ben you were StVoJIoSd .1 >*■ ^'«'' '^'«»' 

---^ofti^sou^-riiSi^or^-^^ixt 



■ fl'l 
. ' 1' 



n' 



1' III 



1 ■! 



'1 



ISO 



CHRISTOPHER 



came in and began to tune up. People were getting to their 
places, sidling, curveting, begging each other's pardons. 
The mothers and aunts were busy now. There was a hum 
and a buzz of talk from which scraps detached themselves. 
Presently the scraps ceased to detach themselves, and for 
Christopher the huge mass of the talk rose and fell in waves 
like the sea— always the sea. Above the ebb and flow of it 
he could always bear the cry of the programme sellers. 
Book of the Words and Songs, Sixpence. 

It had not been possible to get four seats in a row. 
Christopher and Trimmer sat in front of John Hemming 
and Anne, but not directly in front. Christopher would have 
wished to sit with John Hemming, but it was thus that 
matters appeared to arrange themselves of themselves, 
and it would have been difficult to change places. John 
Hemming could talk to him, however, by leaning forward, 
and did. 

Anne knew the day to be momentous. Not all John 
Hemming's good-humoured light-heartedness could lull the 
sense of something impending. Under his light-hearted- 
ness she fancied she detected that which did not speak 
lightness of heart. His face, with its rather boyish expres- 
sion, had ir. it a look which took her back across the years 
to another day which also in its turn had seemed to her 
momentous. Had she really thought to escape ? Now, as 
he sat beside her, it seemed tr her that all day she had known 
that he would come. 

" Were you surprised to see me ? " she heard him saying. 

" No. I thought it possible that you might come." 

This she said almost in spite of herself. 

" It was quite certain that I should come," he said, 
" But I might have been too late, or I might have missed 
yoB." 

" Christopher wanted me to write last night, but— well, 
I have some mercy on my friends, you see." 

" If you count me amongst your friends I ought to be 
satisfied." 

" Of course I do." 



CHRISTOPHER 



He had been" SiJ^thL Sh'T" '*"y.*" *^y-" 
any amends-short of 1Sdi«^J„/ '^*'- f^^ *° °^« 
that which she toew to be ^!?. k,"" u""^'** P«-^Pitate 
anlentlywishl^tolvoid '^"'"*' ""* ^^"^^ ^« «> 

b^lSVS."""" '"" """=" '' "''"^'^ *° -•" •>« said, 
" Oh, John, did it matter ? " 
Her eyes fiUed with tears. 

ho;^mu^"it*5Stt^^ ^rst'i ""ct '°' *° '»°- 

wha^^he had dropp^. " le^^^u'^^^CrZ^; 

coS?*SrtSJe'lS'tetr'°J.\'°"««-^- A- 

either. She loolXSerh'^ds'tffh.y^^nti^ b"1 
saw not her hands, but his which were ci^shfaa ^i^' ^"* 

S'^yTJ-- «"- «'<= -- b^de-^ het^lst p^l" 

had Xittrf hS f^roSA^T;hr" *.° *'"* ""^'^ 
w^ver and the cu^ wal ^S"' *' «^* S^^"^""^. 

Demons in the Bowels of the Karfh , ,„ i 
rjt'Sm^''*^-- '^^^t^-^Ject^'th'^t^^^^^^^ 

stoWrTfcj u ^. "^^ ^^'^ no demons in the fairv 
"SLil^^°*?*'^'.f*^"^Lane. mj/wj^ 
WcaiJse It s a pantommie " was not a quotation -then 
,_ There have to be m pantomhnes ? " '^"°^"°" "«"■ 
inere always are " 

the t>Zed nZL, ,*''*' "^^K^' •">* «•>« could stiU see 

eSibleness. No smoothmg would straighten it when fe 



llJI 



f r ill 



iH 



; I lii 



s 





i 


:H 






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CHRISTOPHER 



hands should presently release it. Oddly, she thought she 
would like to have it. It became for her a sentient thing. 
It was also in some sort the symbol of the man's sufiering. 
It took for her, by reason of tiaa, the pitifiil aspect of relics 
— those inanimate things, humble, insignificant maybe in 
themselves, but hallowed or profaned by association. A 
relic in the making anyway I It was certainly no longer a 
reputable Bill of the Play. 



CHAPTER XX 
QN the stage, glittering, or comicaUy dingy, thincs 

S mterioB where the Faiiy Queen, XculoZTr 
fcSTLS^ ^ inappropriate song with the loulad^, to 
^J^. "^^ ^^ *^» BaUerina tiptoed twfated 
and postuied. The blare of silver trumpefa herald^ i^^ 
^tamces of King and court. To the3 of^J^ Z 

a^Zti^r* "^^^ ^ *-P- ^ saw^dtSd 
She tried to diut herself in to such seeing and hearine a> 
of the building. By keeping quite still, her eyes on the st^ 

m te^t t^h^^ ^' •" *^*P* ^ °P*« 8J««s, which 
TnT^ L "^ "°"' "• *"»« P**:*^ SaUeries, the wes »e 
Aut off from outer distraction. For I time she rSS 
80, loobng neither to the right nor to the UdTb^^^ 
at the stage straight before her. Then with a litfle *^ 
of her shoulders she tumri towards ^ ^ *°°P 

b^^tST' "^ '*^ ^ "^ '^•'' •"'*" ^'^ »«"<»«« 
toia^^lw '^*''" 'l«/bi'?w«« gently ; " I'm not going 

She nodded gratefully. 
y«i.^°°" let me see you afterwards? I want to talk to 

She hesitated. 

"I promise to behave mya^ " 

U^^f^ "'*^ ^" ^^^- " " «»W "ut be kept to 
153 



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CHRISTOPHER 



i 



" Of conne 111 see you," she laid. She tried to add nme- 

thing and got as far as " But I ought " when he stopped 

her. 

" Don't say anything more now," he said quietly. " Not 
now." 

<< Still " She must leave hendf a loophcde, she most ! 

" Please," he said. 

More of the Fairy Queen. More of the Demon King. 
More of the Ballerina. Christopher liked everything except 
perhaps the Ballerina. At any other time Anne would have 
been enjoying it all as much as he. He turned to the tvvo 
behind at every tune he recognised ; included them all in 
his breathless Wonders. 

" Enjoying it, little chap ? " 

" Rather." 

So was Trimmer. It did not, however, she said, beat the 
pantomime she had seen at Birmingham. Christopher did 
not believe her. 

The first boy won his way to the heart— a gallant boy 
all bust and waist, and tepering legs nimble to the horn- 
pipe, with a song for every occasion, and an eye for a petti- 
coat. How bravely he bore himself I The Demon, for all 
his malignity and sheath of shining scales, could never fur 
long get the better of him. He bore a charmed life. He 
was here, there, and everywhere, championing Beauty in 
Distress, cheering his old mother, chafiBng the King, fighting 
for the Right and the Oppressed and OW England. No 
wonder fairies had him under their special protection. And 
Beauty, his sweetheart, who could help loving her? And 
the poor King who was in such dire financial straits, and 
the Queen with the bast roice who could not get away from 
her recollection of the days when she was Young, and all 
the rest of the familiar crew. . . . Christopher felt that his 
" Rather " expressed but inadequately the degree of his 
mjoyment. 

To-monow, Boulogne again : the next day, school. 
Horrible I But he would have something to tell. Besides, 
it was still to-day. So Christopher. 



CHRISTOPHER ,53 

So^T^^^' ^**'**°* ■*^" ^** ^°" *•** *^ •«" 
ChSSi'-^^Sr^^'^- «**-»»«>* too late. 
inSrS^'SSili!^''"'^ *«"**«"«*• '"d-^- So. 

The pantomime was nearing an end. The tiansforma- 
twn so^e had drawn its Oh's of amazed delightMnL 

that the mwnent was coming towards which the whole day 

be moymg towards the pantomime. That was how such 
d^of pleas^ could cheat you I Her courage began to 

truth look tmrf when John Hemming decided for her tl^ 
wf iH^* °°*„'**, ""* ^ •""kq'^^e. She nodd^ to 
^^r- ^^ ''"J '""^ "^ *»^P««1 to Trimm«^ 
Brfme Anne knew what was happening she founo herself 

" l^'^l'^^ nieet them in half an hour." he said. 

" Under the clock." 

Yet not the rwnotest thought of any use such as this for 
^.ff*^-P^J^b^ present to Anne when, earUer in 
the day, she had spoken of the great clock. She wuld havS 
^hed Christopher had called her attention to it, andl^ 
had said the obvious thing-to the helping, as it was to 
Sn?h^ '"^ °* "'"' """ link in the chain that 

J'i !l'*J*°*°jr"* will be over in less than that," she said 
indistinctly. She wanted to gain time. ""^ gaia 

ShaU w« walk, or sit down somewhere ? " 

mJ^wf ^tl^.- ". '"^•" Sh« wanted space, move- 
"nwt. We ve been sitting so long," she addedT^ 
ae looked about h«, and at him. 

stiu'h^ ^^^ «fi***^ "I^ ^^'^ ^"^ ^^ te" they could 
still hear muffled sounds from the pantomime. Th«» mi^ 



i 



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156 



CHRISTOPHER 



gled with the univenal toy loiiiidi that made the place a 
huge Lowther Arcade. 

" Where are we gaiiig ? " Anne Mid preiently, a* they 
walked. But she knew. 

" It isn't odd," he said, " and there will be air and the 
open sky." 

It was nearly dark out of doors— quite dark it seemed as 
they stepped out ol the lighted building, but gradually, 
as their eyes gi«w accustomed to the change, what had 
■eemed darkness showed itself to be but a half-darimeia in 
which all objects were clearly visible. The terraces were 
deserted. 

In the dusk of the winter evening the gardens looked a 
little forlorn. But overhead were the stars. 

" I don't know how to say what I have to say to you," 
John Hinming said suddenly, when they had walked a few 
yards along the gravel in silence. " Under whatever I may 
be feeling, you see, I've got the knowledge of what you know 
of me, and of what you must think of me. Well, think the 
worst of me (and your worst won't periiaps be bad enough !), 
but just somehow know that in spite of everything and 
through everything I've always toved yon. I did then, 
years ago, and I do now, and-^owever I may have lived— 

in all the time between " 

He broke oS. She did not speak, but neither did she 
r pfVr, any attempt to move as he stood before her. They 
had both stood still as he spoke. 

" You don't know what these days have been to me. I 
don't think I knew, myself, till I found this morning that I 
might be going to lose the very last of them. If I hadn't 
met you I behe-e I should have spent the night under your 
window in Ebury Street, to make sure that you didn't es- 
cape me in the morning. Oh, I can laugh, for I did meet 
you, but it's true. What are you going to 4ay to me ? I'm 
not fit to come to you, but I do come to you." 
"John, it's not that. I don't jwlge you. I never 

' have " 

" Is tt the boy ? " 

"Yes. No. I don't know." 



CHRISTOPHER ,5^ 

" You're aftmid of my influence-^" 

J'^'Z^^- J***'" ?" »"• t»^ OiAt I'm not afraid 
„ _^ •I*'" P«wdly. " If I didn't trust yon. 
Her voice shook. She turned away. 

;_ ■^ ?I]r** ^'^ ''''^ '*''*"^ *•»«"> hummed like a hive 

^^A^^ck struck somewhere. The strokes beat upon the 
^' Anne, knowing what you know, wiU you marry 

" John, It's not what I know. It's not what you've done. 
It's not you at all in a way." 

" Can you can for me ? " 

" Yes." 

She had thought of him too much to hesitate about this, 
bhe knew that she cared for him, or could care for him, well 
wiough to love him if she married him. She did not love 
tarn yet, though he had the power to disturb hw. After 
^s day, all tb« same, whether she married him or not, she 
believed she should love him. 

"What is it, then?" 

c J I* l ^ f """y ^^^^^- How could she tell him ? 
She had thought of her life as dedicated to the dead and the 
bving Christophers. " It " was herself then, was Chris- 
t^her 8 fathw, was Christopher. There were other people, 
other thmgs. mvolved also. Her mother I She in hwown 
person would understand. As Granny Oxeter would she? 
tarn and Catherine . . . would they ever? As Chris- 
tophers aunts? As her sisters even? Boulogne was in- 
volved. The peace of the sheltered drawing-room, the fire 
toe lamp, the ComhiU Magaxine I All these and-Mrs 
5>t. Jemistm 1 

her ^-T^'n^^l ''*'■" '^°"'' "^^ Vt^niXy, naming 
^A \^^} **"" ^^ "'*° account. Oh, John I " {" it'? 
au dreadful I ' was on her tongue, but this thne was not 
■^o^enj . . . She-she was so good to Christopher." 



- \ 
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•S8 



CHRISTOPHER 



"Anne, I ihonkln't be hen U iha wonU have nwrried 
roe. That's all I can My in extennation ci my ooadnct. 
You mutt think what yon will ol me except ia this oim 
thing." 

He took a few (tepe away irom her and came back. 

" But yon're not ddng her more than jnetioe in laying 
that. She was good to Christopher. She would be again. 
She was just as truly expressing herself in that as she was 
in leaving me. She hurt me there. I don't mind that she 
made me ridiculous. That's a small thing. She . . . hurt 
me. But she's full of kindliness for all that— of goodness 
even. I don't understand ; I don't pretend to. How should 
I when she doesn't, herself ? Our mistake was in thinking 
that we loved each other— though even there ... In a 
way we did." , ^, 

He stapptA again. She could see that he was prdonndly 
moved. 

" Yes, I am free," he said, after a pause. 

They walked a little further, and again came to a stand- 
stOL 

" You'ie right to heslUte," he said. " It's a poor enough 
bargain to offer you— damaged goods, smirched, rejected 

" Jdm," Anne said, " John t " 

" Isn't it true ? " 

" It isn't." She drew a deep breath. " That's what is 
somehow wonderful. That's what I've had to learn, and 
have leamt. What I believe, anyway." 

To her surprise she was wondering at this moment how 
the woman she wanted to pity, and pitied, could have found 
it in her heart to let him go I Some words of Trimmer's 
came back to her. 

He saw his advantage, but he refrained from following 
it up. He did, indeed, wish her to know exactly what she 
would be doing if she married him. She would have some- 
thing to face. She would need all her courage. 

" I d<m't want you to think me worse than I am, but yoo 
must on no account think me better." That was his atti- 
tude. " I come to you without one plea, but not as a peni- 



CHRISTOPHER 



»59 

tent. I'm tony enough. It tan't that I'm not lony I But 
H Jt were all to come over again, other thinn being equal 
Ive no doubt that I should do what I've done. I^'t 
«I»ct yon to undentand. You wouldn't be the woman 
you we if yw, could. It's to a di«erent Idnd th- i; is sort 
rf ondentanding is given, and I wouldn't have you a t Vrent " 
He <Bd not say all this, but this is what was . n ■ .ninrl 
and in soine mysterious way the substancf ■ ir a., , -u 
ntated itself to hers. It was the answer to \. i.M li.«: e^cr 
dsed her at Herrickswood when she hart ^i,.,i hM-.*., 
whether, M he had not been " dead " he co. Id he ud^ t.v uc 

alive again. ' She knew that in the couveutional -erse 
he wssnot in sackcloth or ashes. But she knew (i,a. sic 
couW trust him. 

Yet if he asked less of her than he thought, he al,o a^ked 
01 ner more than he would ever guess. Perhaps the last 
tMng that such a woman as Anne surrenders is her belief 
that, though there be in Heaven neither marriage nor givin* 
ta maniage, the marriage tie itself must somehow t«s^ 
the jpto sad grave of death. " It " was no longw 
hersdf. no kmger Christopher, maybe, or even Mrs St 
jemiaon. 

ae looked at him, wondering whether it would avaU 
■°y^ to fl»»k- Of the two of them, was it she who was 

A few pec^ besides themselves were in the grounds now 
Voices sounded near the entrances to the buflding. Conolea 

^♦'^L i *^ ^^^'^ °* *^* ?»*» »' «n«8«l 8^«l«»ly out 
«ii^^^*^W^ "^""^'^ ^««' somewhere at hand 
™„v^fy; "This is the grounds. I suppose," and a 

S .Jt. ■^.u'^Vi *°"''* •*' ^y ^y" A child 
a>asei another mto the shadow of some bushes, and a enar- 
dian s vo.ce called. " Don't you get lost now. If you dol 
s^ take you both home stniight-away." Was there, or 

hlff ^?J!f™' i*' ? '°"*' '»™"*^ » *he great glass 
nouse ? The pantomime was over. 

^^ Anne," he said gently. 

"It's because I could care for you," she said 



at last 



desperately, 



I 



j, 



i A., 






iiii 



,go CHRISTOPHER 

" Because . . . ? " ^ 

She nodded. "Because! But if you 

^^^Tt^ I wSThe stood before her, " why 

can caie for me . . . i wny, u ^^ ^^j^ 

that's everything. E^T^' X ^? " 

possible. How can that ^^^^^^(^ she could not 

*^e must have kno^ he«^ ^'^S.^^r's father and 

s^js fafit -" 4Sr^iiri°d^"s^ 

would be renoundng-if she ^i^t^^**- "* Zl*"^^ , All 

K^rinL^^£^H43th15 

^ tSt da^. NO. She c^d^ot teU h^ .^ , 

fdtmLrit wJr nSng that there was a na. 
lying about for Christopher to fall on . . . 

He came nearer to her. 

H^"so near to her. but he did not touch her-^ near 
jTcTuld hear his quicken^ Jrea^W ^^ ^ 

"All my life, anyway, » m your hands, M saia. 

a whisper. moment as the drowning 

She was drowmng. In «»»* "«>?,^'/ "^ ^nd impa^ 

aie said to do, she ran ttrou^ her hf e mvrvw ^ j^ 

doned review, d^*^ »?"8fp^. JhlS^S^i^topher's. 

had been the bepmung of t^^^^^^^^^f waters leading to 

She saw again the S^l^en ^^^ "f " „ ^when out of the 

or from the golden a^ : ^^ J*'^"Sl to ^^' ^ ^^ 

exceeding sadness °*.''ef^*'*^t!r .^r^ler anguish. h« 

was not ; Uved again ^^^^ *^ S'hS^a ■"»«■ 

lassitude, to the moment of raptwe ''^^^^ j^t^er of 

child into her waiting arms. Oh, Chnstopner, 

^topher, Christopher, Christopher 1 



CHRISTOPHER i6i 

U, in her drowning which was her yielding, she could have 

spoken, it must have been to say " No," to this other ; to 

say " No, lest I love you— No, though I love yon t No. No. 
No." 

But she could not speak, and, swaying, swayed towards 
him. 



. m 



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CHAPTER XXI 

CO Christopher's naU-the n^ which h«l f hbrihj^ 
S -was tiie fast in the co«6n of poor old Boulogne. 
S^tet^ to wedding? Haste rather to the bur^l No 
J^ Lste, of course, for nearly two ye«s w«je to^ Wo« 
te mcTthw ctianged her name. A nad to the coffin for all 

*^;Hets? None from Christopher, straining forward 
NoKr the gxeen-shuttered house? \^^ '^ 
u\\. «( <if Nicolas? Merridew's where the CominU ana 
M wer^ iif^^d to Christmas cards in toir horn 
JXi^^" »^ in those days), and valentmes J-a.^^ 
irows Cupids on scented lace-paper) in theurs? None for 
SL^^de Rue with Gregory's and Howe's »f ^\^ 
Z.; to FiU Dieu when to I-x^- -"^^ ^Z S 
Cathedral, and to eager women held out ftdr ba^^ i 

ventT Tout & quaf sous. Au chow. a»o|^' ' ' 
m«w-KO-rounds, to Tombolas, to shows? For to Uu 

£ toed ™»irf «d to* wi«t a» i"b ►"T 
ISi A «io»d to so Witt y tt""* >*' '" 

|6» 



CHRJSTOPHER 



'63 

potatoes with a shake of salt ? ^ tu 1^ °' **^ 
sepaiatinif the wat«^ „? f ^ V- s.*^^ '°^ Sates deeply 

fiJewoAsmtheSteri^»n^^^''T'^' occasional 

>l» mT^.SKk.^tir™!*''*™^ by ft. boat. J 
the road • th^ h=if_»ir j conee-sugar ; the men mendin« 

The MrfW ■ ^' *"'' looking forwatd. 

or any chaj^ta tl*^! ""^^.T *° ^ "^y P^^ing at aU. 
into tte o^^v« m. It !^ ^?^ ^"^ "* °°<=^ 
"ood and to lS'w" "^"* experiences at Herricks- 

ao^ts tteservants'^r^Sfs^o^Sli^'^"*'''^- '^ 
thera;:rit^'^|£*,f««--e looking P We« 

[mother get ^ Lt^ } ^^^ ''^''^ «^«^ ' His 
K« more letters and wrote more ; that he did ob- 









164 



CHRISTOPHER 



: -H 



serve, notfaing much else. He might have noticed some- 
thing (A restraint in her rdations with her sisters for a little 
while after the return from England, but naturally he did 
not. Full of their qnest<omngs and hearings and relatings, 
they did not either. It was his mother, actively dreading 
the telling, who could have told of restraint ! For her there 
were days when restraint shrieked aloud. She haH told no 
one ? No one as yet. There was no hurry indeed, for John 
Hemming, behaving beautifully, was not coming to Bou- 
logne was content to remain at the " other end " of a daily 
letter. Signs? Not for Christopher. Not for the busy 
Aunts. Two persons only may have guessed. Mrs. Oxeter, 
though Anne, with the knowledge that she was ready to 
tell her at any moment, felt no restrant in her rdations 
with her ; Trimmer, who brought in the daUy letter. These 
she would have told without further, or any, ado, if it had 
not been for Christopher's Aunts. She was not ready yet to 
teU them. In time perhaps she would be. Meanwhile she 
dwelt over a volcano. 

Christopher, notably older for his widened outlook, ui 
vited comment. 

" He's grown inches." his Aunt Uura declared, poa- 
tively inches." „ v. . . 

" He grows more and mwe like his father." hfa Anat 

Catherine. , , „ 

Anne winced. Then smiled. She must accustom henelt 
to new conditions. She knew that the daily letter made 
her happy. ^ ^ , , 

How to tell them I She made tentative efforts, only i 
find that they had been a Uttle shocked as it was. At the 
first mention of John Hemming they confessed to haviij 
been surprised that Mrs. Herrick should have asked him to 
Herrickswood to meet their sister and her son. 

" It wasn't as if ... " they said— which was the sort | 
(rf thing they always did say. 

" Oh. well " Anne said, also without finishing. 

"My dear, after aU that happened here," Laura Mi 
filling in, " Boulogne, you know, where we all were I W j 
we saw ourselves— walking with her as he did in the ope | 



CHRISTOPHER ,^ 

^^-and what everyone wid. Even if it was at an 

" That was it," said Anne ; " it was all at .n —j 
and done with." « was aU at an end-over 

/^Ovw^bnt hardly done with," said Catherine "whUe 

us as regrettably lax. People in these cases-oh yes the 

S^at aST'' iT*^ "'t*^ lady-usen't to r.;oS 
yTw 15 h " ^? "^ 'l'^*"' right of Mrs. Herrick. 
^h^guest. her son's widow ! And then Christopher, a 

elsZJ^*??,^^ never gete more harm from anyone 
^M^fiiThT P*™»"=d I'erself to say, but again she 

be drawi mto an aigument-must keep her aijrmnents 
«de«l, for the day when sf.e must plead hrio^T^' 
and her own .. . fight it if need be. 

But presentiy Christopher did become aware of some- 
tog-«,mething happening or impending. TWs ^ 

announced that M. St. Roch, the owner of the green-shSrt^ 

t^^x^^""^ -- '^ ^-^^ irr-thtroi 

older'SlH^ylL;; "^ '^''^'- «" -^ truth. 

«^J^1 T. ^ ^"' '•"'^ ^^ ''«^ ''te landlord's 
^ wUrh ^ **^,"°* *""'"* ""^'^"^ ^th the busi- 

^ t^^^l h^*°P^? T*^^'' « ""at Anne Herrick 

Anne wo^r ^t*" °' ^"^^ '* "? ''^ *^^ ^ of her lease. 

XiS ^hV* "r""*.'* "^^ *''^* t''^ t«"i"g was 
P^pitated. She went round to her mother's with a blating 






in 



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CHRISTOPHER 



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Cbristopber, uninformed as y«t of wh»t the visit to Eng- 
land had brooght forth— Iniit al the nail in effect I—was 
nminded now of the dftys of Poor Mr. Aggot and the Ab- 
sconding Partner ; of the days of the faasily consultations 
from which he was excluded ; even of the Red Swes. There 
were mvsterious family consultatioBS now ; conversations 
which were brokec ofi at his entrance; significant allu- 
sions to Goodaess-knows-vtliat in his presence. Something 
was exercising everybody. His motlier vx)uld not tell him yet, 
dear. Trimmer knew, he was quite sure, but shook her 
head. 

His grandmother was pietty much as usual. His Aunt 
Laura wasn't, but had a tendency to look at him with melan- 
choly solicitude, rousing herself from time to time to smile 
at him with forced cheerfulness, as one who should say, We 
must hope for the Best. She kissed him oftener even than 
usual, and showed an inclination (frustrated, for the most 
part, let us add !) to kiss him even oftener than that. His 
Aunt Catherine he did not see at all. Presently he gathered 
that there was a temporary estrangement between his gentle 
mother and this gentle aunt, who, it appeared, had Said 
more than she Meant. 

What did it all mean ? 

" I can't bear to be disapproved of," he heard his mother 
say one day. 

"Catherine doesn't quite understand," his grandmother 
answered. " You must make allowances." 

Christopher had come in from school, and though he had 
entered the room in the ordinary way, so absorbed were 
they that they had not observed him. 

" I do," his mother said. " I want to. 1 do. I i ake 
every allowance. I knew— that was why I shrank u from 
telling her. I felt she wouldn't be able to see. But when 
she said what she did say " 

Christopher knew he ought to reveal himself. Well, there 
be was, if they chose to look. 

" You mustn't mind her. She spoke without thinking— 
in the heat of the moment." 

" Mother, you don't think " 



CHRISTOPHER ,67 

"No. darling, I don't. You are doing perfectly right. 

Don t forget what I said to you months ago." 

" I don't. If it hadn't been for that indeed " 

No one ever seemed to finish a sentence in these mysterioua 

discusHons. 

"And for what BIrs. Herrick said, too," Christopher's 
mother added. 

•' I must have misjudged that woman," Granny Oxeter 
said, by the way. 

" We all did," Anne said gratefuUy. " She's not frighten- 
ing at aU. She's most lovable. ReaUy if she could approve 
and she would, I do think that Uura and Catherine— Laura 
hasn't said much. But Catherine ... Oh, Christopher, 
IS that you ? How quietly you came in. I didn't hear you ! " 

He had not really come in quietly. 

It was his Aunt Laura's " Oh, Christopher, I didn't su 
you ! " of the Poor Mr. Aggot days over agam. 

Afterwards the days were seen to have been even more 
hke those than he had suspected, when they also were found 
to have portended a move. At the time, however, what they 
portended he could not imagine. Nothing unpleasant he 
was sure, for, though there was some ferment, it was plain 
to see that his mother was not reaUy unhappy ; and Trimmer 
was in excellent spirits. 

His Aunt Uura, he presently gathered, was coming round 
-whatever that might mean ; his Aunt Catherine would in 
time. 

It was his Aunt Catherine, if he had known it, who on this 
occasion supplied most of the Red Eyes, though his mother, 
m spite of not being reaUy unhappy, cried sometimes too! 
she could not bear being at variance with anyone. 

So time went on-^hat time which was said to be neces- 
sary to the " coming round " of his aunt. She did not come 
to the Rue GU Bias, uor appear in the Place Moli&e when 
thnstopher's motlier took him there to tea. We may guess, 
as Christopher could not. but as his mother could and did 
(which was why she cried), what these absentings of herself 
meant to the poor lady who had said too much. 

Boulogne threw oft winter and clothed itself in the greens 



''h 






i68 



CHRISTOPHER 



of spring. The trees in the Petits Arbres and on the Es- 
jdanade anc in the gardens under the Ramparts came to 
life after their long ideep. Flowers filled tlie maricet once 
more, and birds— mostly In cages, it is tme— «ang their 
songs of joy and love. It was again the time of yoong things. 

.^me looked youn^^er than ever that year. Catherine 
saw from behind curt&ii'.s and through remorseful tears, but 
would not herself be sef. Anne made overtures of peace, 
sent messages, wrote. '.';rhjiine held out. Mystified Chris- 
topher could not und';> tvuod. At this time he seemed only 
to have a grandmothe- and one aunt. 

Then on a day he met her ontside the Post Office in the 
Rue des \^eillards, whither he had been sent on an errand 
for stamps. ' 

He said, " Is that yon. Aunt Catherine ? " and, in the 
"open street," as she would tiave said, she burst into 
tears. 

" Oh, Christopher," she said, weeping over him. " Oh, 
my poor lost lamb." 

His aunts often called him Lambs and things, so he passed 
over that, but he had to point out that he wasn't lost. Used 
long since to going about by himself, he could not admit to 
being lost when he wasn't. 

" And you mustn't be," sobbed the poor lady. " You 
mustn't be. That's all that I wanted to prevent. CHi, 
Christopher 1 " 

" Why are you crying. Aunt Catherine ? " 

" I haven't seen you for wtuks," said his aunt. 

" Because yon hide when we go to see Graimy. Yon run 
out of the room. I know, because there was a cbur that was 
quite warm last time we went. Why den't you cobm snd 
see mother ? " 

" Oh, why 1 " said his Aunt Catherine. " I've efimded 
her, my angel. My foolish tongue said things. You wouldn't 
understand. I didn't mean them — at least, I did maa them, 
because I felt it my duty. That's wliy, but I appose I see 
tiut I shouldn't have said tlwm." 

" Well," said Christopher, drawag oa his own experience, 
" if you say you're sorry she always forgives you." 



CHRISTOPHER 



-^y don't make yourself ill. There, Was me VfT^ 
to have seen you." ' "»'"*• * « g«d 

^e turned blindly into the Post Office, ^ he sc^npered 
"She was blubbing," he toM hi, mother. 

onlfa^ to r^ ^ *^' "r ""^ ««♦ "^t^nioon, but 
o«^agaw to be met v... what Christopher caUed a ^am 

^^^long i, this to go on ? " she asked his g^ndmother 

fK:rrr*Sat"XtTr.*' "«*• "^^ *« •>«*• »«* 

TI«"J^%''**^''' M'«Ja»e." amiounced Cflestine 

l-««jonsly, revelling in an o^^o^te:^'"™"- ^"^ "*?* 
Marry anyone you like. Marry everyone. Marry everv 

i'M ?^sr''- ""^ "^"^ "'*»"' '- ^^°' y- 

say^e^jT"^'"^'"- "^^ ««-<» c-ature could not 
,. ;^ljjf7'^,2«r^ "f^ e'«f. "bout it," she squeaked. 
*'*'*■* will soon come round." 

^^"^nerine Mdded. 

"Reoavehim. Receive him. Catherine ? And me ? " 
,_ What an ogre you must thmk me." 

thereat ^4 .%iT*l'VT'"^** "**«»•• But- 
exDUin V . °"^* '^'•e^ tl»«*. dear. I can't 

Ot «»«ne," said Catherine Owter. " a couree." 






Hi 



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■II.? 



^JQ CHRISTOPHER 

She wM w«dy to bdteve anything now. to •o*!*^- 

SSL Aiiheh«ioppoMd.«.BOwwMihe«^towdcom«. 

^•ney .n Mid tomie the b«t hnrtwd^" ihe wid. 

wiping her eyes. 
Anne smiled. „ 

" Bat he isn't a Refonned Rake, Catherine. ^ 

"NS.no." agreed Catherine hurriedly. " Reformed, but 

•"l^^'it at that. She knew I y^r^*^\F^^ 
to^e exact distincttons or exact deflmtions II he wm 

ZT" reformed " in one sense, he was in «iother. And m 
'^•T^t i'ATS^e he would make a good husband." 

said Catherine. j -j „ 

Anne knew that he would, and sajd so. 

Catherine pressed her hand. r.*i,. 

"And a giod lather." Am« added. She Pr««ed Catte- 
rine-r " li I hadn't known that.... But I do. Thats 
whv. It's aU in that. Nothing else matters. 

S^ it came that Christopher found his lost auntat tea that 
day in the Rue GU Btas when he came home from jchooL 
It was of course, she who had been lost, and not he. She 
HsISThta in quite a difierent way from last time. It was a 
a^T^rt of kiss altogether, and quite mj^ J^ 
faom the recent kisses of his Aunt Laura He U^t muA 
hi^frr— in so far as he could be said to nice kisses at au 
^t UV^only tolerated). Normal reUtio^ he 
l^S had been esUblished. But what, as before, did it 
all mean? 

?;L:w^Vn.'"/Sr£-usual thing, happened with just 
somXrl of Siusuatoess behind them. There w«e no 
w™y «d eyes. His mother sang about the house 

w^sinrinK again before five minutes were over. She bought 
:^e X'lT^hich met with Cimstopher's vmqujfi^ 
tZroval. They were different somehow tromOi^ti^ 
approval. 'J j--,-„.» hU Aant Laura left off lookia* 
generally wore. By degrees ms Auni i.w«a »=" 



CHRISTOPHER ,y, 

province.: «rfd ««pulent m«, oSToZSt^™ 

LT' *M**P r*^ "^.^ SSg ofh^SJ 

r^ FW„ «,^ 'S""'^ ' T*" ^°"«°« '"»"b«" fn>m 
bP m^ VT *? *™* ** *•>« ""fe «»e the chair would 

might read by the cones on the incoming vessel the nWC 
mght see the passengers land. England bound foi tZ 

£"^° nSJU't:'"?^ itKto'"F:;;Sce''';^' 

«o suet, numbers had been known since before the wj 

alw^^^f *** ^r^K°" *" 'I"*y ""^^ *« London uTwere 
ftlm^n fh. *'*c*^' '°"^' "^ Christopher played kmo^ 
wW^h^ '""• ^^•"the'^ofthegaig^aysttS 
which he ran, or on which he see-sawed hSTT- \?*S 
°i the terrace behind the Eteb^^' H°f *" *!F,^* 
on «Wch you laid your CtltZ'SLS^'i^S.^ 
yeS^L""* ^^^ the holidays, the pJte Die? Se ™ A 

n1 cL?^ ***"; ^*- •''""^' J"'^" Hemming, a^'thl 
^ C*me the autumn. By then the coffin wWdi was to 



I' 111 



■ 



:tl 



•*K»OCOrY nsOlUTION TBI CHAIT 

(ANSI end ISO TEST CHART No. I) 




^ APPLIED IIVHGE In 

S-m 16S-] Eait Moirt StrMt 

r^ Rochsiter. New York 14609 USA 

S ("S) «M-0300-PBon. 

S ("6) lU- 5989 - Fox 



,,a CHRISTOPHER 

hold poor old Boulogne was weU on in the making. Carae*e 
day when he was told. He felt as if he had known all along ! 

ft^aa hurrah for change, hurrah for the future, hurrah 
for John Henuning and England. 



END OF THE FIRST BOOK OF CHRISTOPHER 



the 
ng! 

l«h 



THE SECOND BOOK OF 
CHRISTOPHER 



l\' 



1 ■ 1 



BOOK THE SECOND 



CHAPTER I 
CT'sI^fpfri.^'^! "rr, y-" ^^> entenni upon 

•MnLre In iS !rfTL .u*^** """y "^ ^ mother's 
tttoTdL hIX: hi T^- **" '"^ °«^er been any- 

his mother, his gnmtoothw W^Lt"*V°°* ''" '^^^ 

anyway, the <4^ ^f^'^^^* '"^ *=''*^''- Thereafter, 
Wtte ^Jn! "^^r"\"'P""y ««"«''• When people 

spring" f^"P~!Iro,,*°i Spring, spring, beautiful 

-^ted^^f^"^ ^«ns of Paddin^on Green " 

wJTvivab fnan very much earlier days-CLns- 

m 



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176 



CHRISTOPHER 



topher, gaining new relations, wa» losing oW ones. Granny 
Oxeter was the first to receive her summons. She died 
quite happUy and as painlessly as it U possible to die, in 
the course of the year o£ one of those or of kindred classics. 
His Aunt Catherine then, as if she had nothing particular 
to deter or detain her, turned her face to the waU and as 
quietly followed her. It was two years later that his Aunt 
Laura took everyone by surprise. She did not die. She 
made an announcement— nothing less, if you please, than 
that she was going to be married. Out of the dim past 
had arisen, it appeared, an old admirer to renew a tmiid 
offer of twenty years earlier when he, a widower now and 
the rector of a large Midland parish, had been a pale young 
curate with neithftr means nor prospects, and she not wholly 
without this-worldly ambitions. 

" I dare say you'll all think me ridiculous, she wrote. 
" At my time of life one ought rather to be thinking of fold- 
ing the hands than of str&ing out in new directions, but 
James " (the rector of Mistertor Sotherby's blamdes^ name) 
" says there is yet work for me to do, and perhaps one 
shouldn't turn back from the plough." 

Christopher wanted to know why his aunt should call his 
prospective uncle a Plough. But, " I dare say," wrote his 
mother warmly, and with gladness in her contented eyes- 
" I date say we shall think you nothing of the sort ! I h-,ve 
not been so glad about anything for a long time, and I only 
wish darling Mother and Catherine could have hved to 
know I remember Mr. Bermerdan well at Cheltenham, 
and used to wonder in those days how you could resist hmi. 
So as the green-shuttered house had been swept away and 
in it's place— in its stead rather— was there me Datchet 
house which, in turn, Christopher caUed " Home," and to 
which, when he was at school, he came for his hoUdays so 
at a stroke, or at three to be accurate, was the famito 
house in the Place MoUfire swept out of his existence. WM 
sat now in his grandmother's chair by the window or tie 
fire ? Who came and went now through the porU cochin, 
under which was the haU door with the brass knocker he had 
once known so weU ? What fingers pressed the yellow keys 0. 



CHRISTOPHER 



his mother's favourite ^d '^m; -^^^ ««* of Ages," 
-ther.s.a„dthe.,.oitr.UX"S..'":i'^,-^- 

t" JrS?: ^y- -»""» •« wet in the softer seventies. 
Changes, changes. 

anSt^terSow'Xrtle^Tr*^ "^^^^^ ^"^'^ 
after Christopher's S^ aw? {T'^ ^'' "'="« «^«d 
God would, /et to be Z m^h" ' f^ !^°^' ^ ^e Good 

atleast.of;'ch.J:tophLe%rma:Lher\S '''^'°''"'- °^' 
sentiments towards the family she hSt !^*"*^ respectful 
come to England for a ti^e htf "V^' '^<^« had 
returned t^y ^ *he*r':;t,Ve K"'i;°'""^'=".' ''«> 
bwken to leave Madame hlart k J? .?''® "^^ heart- 
desolated, but-oh?!^'']^ 't'^^***°l"^ * i«»ais. 
water. ^ ""** ^lood was thicker than 

her"Sr;r,lS-aste'Sl'*^^ -^"-^ *» -ar^ 
to India, so had s^l^ij^ "-j^^P^ed her mistrS 

land. No. she had Mt d^tli u °. ^^ "«* •"« "n Eng- 
tuner. He w.^ Ze°^ jJJ^^^y bn,ken «ith her pia^ 
to remind her, th^tf^^l^A* T"*^ fr^-n «"« to time 
perhaps. Master ^t^hZ « '™- °»« °' these days 

time Cher K\™^i^ftS^C^!' ^^ ?« ^on^ 
aster. «"» were iwi. Christopher had a little 

•^omrS -me'b5'to°t,f2S^.«'« years, a happi. 
protestations, nTvuin Dimil ^""^ '^'^ ""^de no idle 
not lost his motteT^ ^ "^ °'" ^°^- Christopher had 

"was difficult aftenJards to determine the ««cto„ler 









M 
•"ill 



178 



CHRISTOPHER 



oi the trivial events which made up liie. At BoulogM things 
had happened before or after the war. So near London as 
Windsor and Eton, things happened for the most part merdy 
to the tune of what songs ruled the moment. Thus the 
"Tommy make Room" period was followed by periods 
governed in turn by such gems as " The Old and the Young 
Obadiah (" Said the Old Obadiah to the Young Obadiah, 
•Obadiah, Obadiah. I am dry '" I) ; " Woa, Emma I ; 
" If I were only long enough " ; " We don't want to fight, 
But. by jingo, if we do " ; " La di da " (Uter), and the hke. 
There was a " Nancy Lee " ye'r, and a year of the Bnc- 
Jl-Brac " Polka. " My Grandfather's Clock " marked tine. 
" True as the stars that are shining." " Silver threads amongst 
the gold " and " Molly DarUng " held their own. Offenbach 
was giving place to Lecoq and Planquette. "Die GUbert 
and Sullivan operas were coming along. The Gaiety was 
contributing to the general conflict or harmony. There were 
plenty of popular airs to grow up to, and Christopher was 

very busy growing. u v *„ *v„. 

Each of the hoUdays. as it came, saw come back to the 
old red-brick house a different boy. however essentiaUy the 
same or the same boy. however externally and mtemaUy 
changing. His father had been at Winchester, and it was 
there, in deference to his grandmother's wish, that he went 
for his schooling. His mother. Kving at Datchet, would 
naturaUy have liked to have him near her at Eton, but (and 
for this reason maybe !) old Mrs. Herrick was urgent-weut, 
indeed, on undefined, perhaps indefinite dauns, as near as 
might be to insisting. Anne, after a few tentative arguments, 
acquiesced. John Hemming was at one with her mother- 
in-law. , , , ^ , ., T„ 

A very close tie still held the boy and his stepfather, in 
a way it might be said that he had brought his mother and 
her former lover together. John never forgot tl^t to him, 
and the two were firm friends. One of John s first doing^ 
in the early days was to teach Christopher to nde. The Doy 
was found to have good hands. He delighted in this n« 
excitement, and his rides with his stepfather were amongS 
the pleasantest of his English experiences. He learned to 



CHRISTOPHER 



shoot and to fish. StiU *u "" ^^ 

beside sport : he was neve^ 'airtT ?"* "*''*' "'*"«* «» We 
that for long. Books hefd'ht? • ^^"^ "' *° '"^^ht of 
apaxadoxicIusu^tLSy toV''*""f- ""•-*" Xof 
of the most tuppei tS^*°/SeT'^' '»°*««ver crude, 
Pfople as his grandmVh^lienfic h^r'°*'-"''"''= ' Such 
him for playing the piano I nf^n J?T""y *" '<»S*ve 
Chopin to Offenbach, frortheML^!!"* it said, f«m 
the Odds as long as you're 'Appy ?^^'f^ ^"*** *° " What's 
Mter all ? "i'P' ' what ictr; the " odds," 

shiSi-SSs'hS ;:" sVhth°'i? "'^^s^ "''<'"* «""* 

tunes, that he gave more »h^n^ ' '*^"'*^ *° him some- 
the more blessed cir^^Jf\^\'^<=«ived. This might 1^ 

«t was certainly not at thTtime S* ^'''"'^ "^t™^ ■ 
asked too much perhaps. Did n„ o.). "".f" '^"^^^^"K- He 
he loved ? All thVt h7h=^ ." °*her boys love quite as 
the dead Pierre ^o'''reS,^T^^?^^,'^jf<^^ ^^-^^ 
removed him), and theTS " vou„^ p*^ r T '^"'''^ had 
had ceased, in a sense, to bl hif^ ^nghshman " (who 
become his ndationrhe pu? 1, P<««»s.on when he had 
Something was always ^.-tlTdd „r ^ ^""^ adoration^ 
be withholden. He maT Wends LT "°* ^'"'- ''^''°- *<> 
PfAaps, of those to wtorn he w/, H ^ *"°"«''- ^ot one, 
thmg lacked. He was happv\Z, 1:?"^, '''^^ that any- 
Particjdar moment had n^ "SZ^' t°*» «end of a^, 
nfice himself in some way " Gr^'?' ,"' ^*"*«1 *" sac 
no man." u, V Greater love than this hafi, 

Siven lives forhAnl'*' "'°'*''* ^"^ «»- "-S^ ht^ 
His friends ? Tha 

'-^ in him. tSThaTre^o^d"!- «^ "'^'^ '""'^^hing 
wth another ? W^s he fickle ^k^ effectuaUy replace^ 
unstable ? He ran th"! u '^ his affections, chaneeablT 

Redgrave, wELTet7i.rin5?T*^'^*' ^^^ -- 
at his firet school of aU rJT^ ^ '"' heart at Boulogne 

black smock with a Sny STJL""' " '=''"^''y ^oy, if a 
and to whom the otheTZs dl^ ""^ "=°^ °* ^he walk, 
=on?bined to foUow tS S^' ^"f ^'^°"' ^hey tacitly 
'''8'"°*»8 of time. rSiSI,'^^ detemained from the 
"eograve had condescended to show 



m 



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if 



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CHRISTOPHER 



«< 



Christopher hfa favour-accepted «weet» and mMbles from 
him tqps and chestnuts. With him Christopher had vowed 
eternal vows of friendship. Redgrave had left fte term 
before Christopher, but not before Chrfatopherh^ known 
that Redgrave was not aU that In his ardour he had thought 
him. Where was Redgrave now, or the devotion that Chris- 
topher had poured upon him? Where was Shappleton? 
Where Jimmy Hastings ? Where Nichoias Mmor ? Chris- 
topher was at his dame-school at Windsor then, whithw he 
went daUy by train. After that, at his preparatory school 
at Eastbourne, there were Homcastie and Hopwood and 
Laurence Chain. None of these were what Redgraye "«* 
stood for. There had really been something about Red- 
grave that asked devotion and got it for a time but each, 
ITthe outset, had seemed potentially what Redgrave was 
not but might have been. Then, with the great d»M>«e to 
the wonderful world of a real school, the search had been 

•^Maich ? It was that, was it ? Not for a long time 
did Christopher realise that he was seeking his own— tasting, 
trying, sifting, rejecting. He would know hfa own when 
iS he foiid it, as like knows like. This, then w^ the 
answer to what he had asked himself. He "as not fickle in 
his affections, nor changeable, nor unstable. What looked 
like each of these quaUties was a very ewnest of hM con- 
stancy. His constancy to-to what? To an ideal. To 
somefting outside and yet within himself. He would know 
it-him7her-when, at length, the looked-for came. Mean- 
while looking into many faces he asked : 

' Is 'it you ? said Christopher, even when he was busiest 
mounting the years; Is it you? Sometimes the words 
(which of course, were never spoken) were Isnt it youf 
This time I am sure it is you. Don't you think that perhaps 
it is you? No? Are you sure? And he would look again, 
and sooner or later would come the knowledge and the dis- 
appointment. Never. Not even when he had thought . . • 
not when the lifting of the veil had seemed most munment 
The nod ; the passing on ; the casual and the stranger lor 



CHRISTOPHER 



i8i 

" What rot 1 " 

,',' if "l<f P% what it seems like to me." 
Paint It, you mean, you young idiot." 

" St'^cheSc'*"""" *" P'""*'^ " «'"''• *- P'^y^i." 
4:^/ar f "*• • ""* ^''^ ^ ^ «"« -'y sd.001 

of it. *^ " "" "^•»"* intimaaes was to be aware 
" Henick's listening to the inkpot." 
Hemck can smell moonlight " 

■taLT ■*** •*"■' "» •«• 

V^telTt^.i?T^^r^ ""* «»»--l °* still ink 
By degrees he came to understanrf Th. ._ ... 



of a nice clap of 



'.» 1 



1 1 

I T 



J , 






- !i 



II 



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CHRISTOPHER 



if indeed he wm in any way different, there mu»t be others 
lilce himself. It was his misfortune, at school at any rate, 
not to meet them. There must be others, and some day 
be would fall in with his own. 

The years were pushed behind him. He did moderately 
well, took a priie or two, had it in his power, and was said 
to have it in his power, to do better. His school reports 
were the reports of the average boy. They disappointed 
hto mother a little. His stepfather, with a better under- 
standing perhaps, made light of them. 

" It's only " Anne said, and, as was )\a way when she 

was perplexed, did not finish. 
" Only what ? " 

" When I think of— of the promise he showed. 

John did not say "What promise?" though at that 

moment he had Christopher's wonderful stepsister (who 

did show promise if you like I) on his knee. He said. " That's 

all right, and so's Christopher." 

" Of course," said Anne. " Of course " ; but could not 

help adding, " Only " 

" Only what ? " as before. 

" When is he going to begin ? " said Anne at last. 
Christopher's loyal stepfather gathered hunself up. 
" Begin ? " he said. " Bless the dear woman, must I ex- 
plain her own son to her ? What does she expect if she will 
be the mother of poets ? Begin? He's begun. You don t 
have to write poetry to be a poet, or paint pictures to be an 
artist He's Uving every inch of his life. That's his work. 
Let that be enough for him, an-" don't bother your head 
about sdioolmasters' reports. What are they when all's 

said ? " 

" Well, some sort of an indication. 

" The observations, generally, of men whose occupations 
prevent their seeing beyond the ends of their noses." He 
turned to his daughter. " She should have seen your father s 
reports, my Fatima." 

Fatima gmgled. , ^- , 

Anne smUed. " Oh, I shouldn't have been looking lor 
anything remarkable from yours, John." 



CHRISTOPHER 



•83 



John Umd hb wife. 

" Thafi where you wouM have been wrong, and what 
prwee my point. They were continuaUy, and uniformly, 
•nd quite remarlcably, excellent." 

Uving every inch of his life, was he ? Christopher at 
•chool, and pressing forward to the time when he should 
ttjrow off its shackles, might have wondered. In a sense 
he was. There were hours that few of his schoolfellows 
lived as fully as he. There were days when he walked upon 
aiMpruig days, quick with the sense and the assurance 
of what was coming ; days of summer and flannels and the 
cncket field, long long days when che daylight, like Josliua's 
sun, seemed miraculously stayed, and wonderful things 
scents, hummings, whispers, were in the air ; autumn d«f 
of qmte other scents and sounds; blustering or crisp) 
frozen days of winter. But against these were many days 
and hours, the very purpose and meaning of which escaped 
hnn. It was then that he felt himself shut in and shut off 
by and from the common informing spirit of the community. 

He loved school and hated it— left it at last as he had 
left Boulogne, without, at the time, a regret, but afterwards 
to suffer pangs of nostalgia and remorse. When it was 
behand him he knew how happy he had been there, and how 
he had loved it. 

Oxford then. New; and the world once more widened. 
Me setUed down into the Ufe as ducks take to water. 
Tlis surely was one of the goals towards which he had 
been urging. Now he was really happy. His first year sped • 
his second ; he grudged the vacations that took him from 
a We so congenial to him in every possible way. Now he 
»emed to have his pick of the friends that he wanted. 
Amongst so many he could drop the search. Is it you ? 
It was no one or heaps of people. 

Then it was that, having bent the knee to no particular 
woman, he met one the sight of whom weakened him sud- 
oemy. He was consdons of a swimming of his senses, of a 
weakness ahnost physical, so that for a moment the strength 






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,84 CHRISTOPHER 

seemed taken from his limbs. This at the sight of a slip of 
a girl, tall, slender, lily-white, who with one glance of her 
eyes answered the question he had ceased to pat, and answered 
it, or he thought so then, finaUy. Is it you } You at last ? 
It is I, Christy— Cora St. Jemison. 



CHAPTER II 

XT OT that he knew who she was, or was to know imme- 
l ^ diately. He saw her at Victoria Station, where he 
was seeing his mother and Fatima, accompanied by the 
Mithful Trimmer, off to Herrickswood for one of the periodi- 
cal wsits to his grandmother. His stepfather, just then, 
^ras fishing in Norway, and he himself on the point of going 
abrowi with a friend. ^ ^ 

Fatima, who, out of compliment to her mother Anne and 
the lady of his mother's song, was reaUy Ancebel, but who 
stiu was plump enough to bear apfly her father's pet name 
tor her, was now an engaging child of ten or so, who hung 
on to her taU brother's words (and his arm, and his waist, 
and his neck if he would let her), and worshipped the grown- 
up ground that he walked on. She conceived, on this day 
an amiable hatred of all slim lily-white girls, by reason of 
one and that one's effect, upon the big brother whom she 
looked upon as her special property. She saw. Fatimas 
01 ten or eleven, even— Fatima as Christopher caUed such 
littie asters as his when he had occasion to speak of them 
m the plural— Fatimae of tenderest ages have eyes. Oh 
Fatnnasawl 

The Continental train was at the opposite platform. It 
was getting up steam. The usual busy crowd hummed 
about It. Fatima already was jealous of it, first, because 
a day or two Uter it would be bearing Christopher and his 
mend (of whom, too, she was jealous) away on their short 
"*T*' Z ^ ^ J»ad to do without her brother at Herricks- 
wood, whiiher he might otherwise have accompanied her; 
ana, secondly, because its air of importance threw aU such less 
aaventurous trains, as that by which she and her mother 

ih7H- "T°^ *"* *° ""^ t*'"' «n«lest journey, into a 
«^e palpable as it secaned to her inglorious. 

185 



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Christopher and she, near the door of the carnage m 
which their mother had taken her place with Trmuner in 
the next, watched the animated crowd. Here were most 
sorts and many conditions: good traveUers, easy, seU- 
possessed, leisurely ; bad traveUeis, fussy, heated, flumed. 
la^^vwe brides and bridegrooms-the usual spraikhng 
—and seeming bridegrooms and brides. Here were affluence 
neatly appointed, and affluence over-appointed ; mdigence 
—(but not much, by the boat-train, of indigenc^--«howmg 
a fair front; something maybe of polite roguery. Here 
were maiden ladies. Here were pamte ; famihes ; a hand- 
ful of schoolboys ; some Mtfle girls-Fatimse— a percentage 
of sunbumt Omrtophets ; couriers, ladies'-maids, valets. 
" I j««y wen wish I was going," said Fatima. 
" Jolly well, do you ? " said Christopher. 
" With you," said Fatima. 

" Harringay," he named his prospective compamon, 
" would throw you out of the window. He hates UtUe girls 
—all Fatimae and kindred species." 

" Oh, does he— the beast ? " said Fatima elegantly. . . . 
" Yes Mother, in one minute, we're not ofi yet— does he ? 
She looked at her brother. " Chuck him and come down 
to Herrickswood. Grandmother Herrick would love to have 
you You know you haven't seen her for a long time, and 
you know you ought to. Besides, we'd ride every day. 
Think of the downs. What do you want to go abroad for ? 
You've been there." 
Christopher laughed. j , v •> «r n 

"Oh I've been there, have I ? To ' Abroad,' eh ? WeU, 
I want 'to go there again. Fatty, so what shall I bring you? 
Jewels or silks or just a rose ? Just a rose. Beauty, shan t 

I? and then perhaps— then perhaps " 

He broke off. She looked to see why. 
The lily-white girl was coming down the platform. She 
was aU slimness and youngness and lily-whiteness. Even 
so prejudiced a critic as Fatima could see that she was beau- 
tiful. Young as she was there was not a harsh line, not a 
<nirve that was not exquisitely rounded. 

Some luggage obstructed the way. WaUdng beside an 



CHRISTOPHER 



li? 



eWerly man, in the wake of servants who went on before to 
pre^, she passed quite dose to Christopher. He moved 
a httle to make room for her, and, as she acknowledged the 
bifling Murtesy on his part, their eyes met. It waTas if he 
had received a blow which left him reding. 

The two passed on to where a valet and a maid stood at 
the door of a carriage which was evidently reserved. They 
got m and the servants went their ways to see to iageJe 
or find seats for themselves. Christopher tried m vidn to 
take up the thread of what he had been saying. Fatima 
was looking at him oddly. 

"Now, Ancebel dear, you must get in. Say good-bye 
to him and get in." ■* ^ 

Fatima. ki^ him, said, " I hate her. I hate her " 

He did not even aA whom, bat kissed her absentty. 
Good-bye, darling." ' 

His mother was leaning from the window. 

" Enjoy yourself, and write to us often." 

A whistle sounded. 

" Is that us ? " So his mother. 

It was not. But it was the Continental train. He saw 
It steam out, handkerchiefs and hats waving 
.Z'^'u" ^ 7°^^ ** travelling by it the 'day after the 
next. How glad he was. " Abroad " was a big place, but 
• . . who knew ? -o i- • 

^" Don't wait, darling. I wish you were coming with 

"He doesn't," growled Fatima over her shoulder 

Then their irain too steamed out, and Christopher, hardly 

^T^ ?^l^ ^^ ^'^^ «»' **°«1 blankly on the emptj 
pl^onn looking after its disappearing tail. 
. ?! ,'««'vered himself presently-came to his senses- 
»nd left the sUtion. ^^ 

fJ^nTf ..* KO'Keous day towards the end of July. Though 

sSTfaS^T^ ^^^ ***" *** *"*• "°*' I^ndon was 
stm full. The streets were nearly as closely thronged with 
«m^ as they had been at the begimiinj of th^ moTtf 
Md even the Row. where it was the custom then to ride in 









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the Ute afternoon, was not yet perceptibly emptier. Chris- 
topher, infected theretofore with his short taste of the de- 
lights of the town, had meant to ride that afternoon, but 
now changed his mind and countermanded his horse. He 
felt a sudden distaste for his kind. It was a day for the 
woods and cool soUtudes, for sleepy meadows or breezy 
uplands He was half sorry that he was not at home that 
he might have spent a long day on the river. But more he 
wished himself in Oxford, where, if late July even did not 
find it deserted, he could yet ' ave found many a spot to 
suit his mood. And then he wanted Boulogne, bits of 
the old town, the silence and the mystery of the Ram- 
parts. 
All his life seemed to have pressed towards this day. 
He went back to his rooms in Jermyn Street, and with 
an impulse to get away as far as possible from this life of 
London (which he yet loved), he changed into a suit of old 
clothes and went out again. He had no settled plan. He 
only felt that he wanted to be alone and to think. 

He did not know London weU, except perhaps the heart of 
it— that part of it, for example, round which revolved the life 
of the last two or three weeks— so much of the season as 
his terms at Oxford aUowed him to have a share in. When 
he thought of London, it was always of such portions of it 
as Piccadilly and Pall MaU and the Strand, of the neigh- 
bourhoods of its picture galleries and theatres, and of those 
particular streets and squares in which so many houses at 
certain times of the year, it seemed, were ready to entertain 
him. But North, South, East, and West of certain fairly 
definite boundaries, he knew nothing. 

Chelsea at this time, except at its outposts, was an un- 
known country to him. On this day of days he made its 
discovery. It met his mood generously. Here were houses 
that breathed the spirit of other days. Here were walls of 
mellow brick, gardens, haunts of ancient peace. Was there 
a smell of flowers, or did he unagine it ? Under an arch- 
way or through an open door, were glimpses to be caught 
of ween and yet more green. Ivies " mantled " many a 
casement. At the end of a passage you might see a curtain 



CHRISTOPHER 



189 

of j^gfafa creeper sway genUy as it hung from a lintel. 
There was ev«aywhere a sense of hidden ^ens. 
And at the foot of aU this the river 

nr^^^ '""'*?^ at an inn long since swept away. 
Ifc^aUled, as seemed right here, for bread and Z^Z 

After that he sat for a time by the river watching the 
^hf,.."* 7?fJ""*?'^"l°* "The Waterman," of^acob 

rfTk^u^* «**•«• *"^* *''° '"'^ '^o^ the enthrahnente 
aL rL-^!'"" ^"S"*^- ^*'"' °* Old Street St. Luk« 
™HT^^f..°' "°**°" S^*' "formerly" Hox^fn 

he had known these in his boyhood. 'Diey to^ seemedto 
have had their part in preparig hhn for^ev^ ta Si.^ 

^adowed for lum perhaps in the Lady Elvira, sav of 
P,zano m Ravina of TA. Miller and His Men. in Lu^'a o 
The Stiver Palace. He smUed to himself 

Barges passed him with sails red like rust, steamers 
pleasure-boats-even the amazing Maria mk wTw 

rStt''^*'""'*- ^°M«Wcb^irbe^* 
oy. Her flamboyant greens and reds and yellows flamed 
and flared in the smJight. She was like sle^tSS 
P^nety, some gross but good-tempered flam,tia?wom^ 
-^ways, for some reason, of the Netherlands !-with a 
S ^^ "^ -^'"^ shamelessness that made herTau 
oSertcT"'^"""*'"- Top-hatted men were dancing 

itsluffi; 'r^^r^ T °^' '^•'°'^^'^"' ^y that mixed 
IdveXf,^!™' H^""**^ was a steamer. Why not 
SdSTr £:«?•" *^ ^"**-«"e London that he^as 

Sr^S h??'''^"' **"'• ^^ *°"''' "« hook for ? 

or|wir^;L th^L-t Se^S •-'' ^"^-^ 

Greenwich, then," said Christopher. 



IN' 

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,go CHRISTOPHER 

It was Bon Mid Cox now that he was reminded of. He 
had played Box. or was it Cox? in young theatricals one 
Christmas. . . . 

" Visions of Greenwich and back " for so much and so 
much ... was it not somehow thus that one line which 
he had spoken had run ? And Greenwich ? He was bade 
with the toy tiieatre again and Jacob Faithful. All his We 
was bound up with this day. 

He went on board and kwked about for a seat to please 

him. , , 

Someone else was on board a steamer now— at this very 
moment. Oh. wonderful! Unwittingly, by his chance 
decision, he had established the semblance at least of a con- 
nection between her and himself. From the deck of ttis 
mimic steamer to the deck of the steamer which bore her 
away, he sent out the current of his thoughts. In the fer- 
vour of his imagination he johied the occultists, forwtalled 
the inventors, but was there ever a lover who did not know ? 
If she was not thinking of him (they had looked deeply into 
each other's eyes), he would so batter her with thoughts 
that she would be forced to admit them and to think oJ 

him. ... . .i ! 

Is it you ? But it is you. I know that at last it is you. 
You know it. Were you, too. looking . . . ? Yes, you 
know it as I do 

Then: Who are you, Beautifm? Where did you come 
from, this wonderful morning? Wherever you came from, 
it was to me that you were coming. I had been calhng you. 
For years I have called you. ... 

Then: Where were you going to ? I can see you looking 
out to sea. Where are you going ? Not that it matteis. 
Wherever you go, sooner or Uter I shall find you. Now that 
I know that you ar«— that you exist and that I haven t 
only imagined you— I know I shall find you. ... 

Look across the water. Look back. I am here. Loos, 
kx>V look. . . . 

The tide was at the flood. The river brimmed. Higi 
rode the penny steamboat bearing the dreamer. He sa« 



CHRISTOPHER ,,, 

the old walb of Lambeth Palace through his dreams the 
Houses of Parliament, Westminster Bi^e ' 

Pfeople looked at him. He was easy to look at-well 
P»wn^clea«.Umbed, and (for a drelSLr) mS^ ^u 

had taken off his hat. and the breezTblew his luJr bad^ 

S^ fiL tTards Jou ' '' '•*''^'°* y"" *'»«° »•« ^^ 

That day, for his unconsdous sake, a shop-riri snubbed 

her well-meaning and imiocent lover-wa^^S^esZSS 

and even di^tgreeable to the wholly unoffen^ to tte 

«d sl^^h »^:?'°°°;k^ ^""^ ^'« contrasted f.2Ln«s 
Md Strength and youth, as embodied upon the seat o™^ 

Z^:t''' ^*^ *^* """*>'' ^^ middirie of ^ sS 

W^frnov1r'""'= ^*"'«^' -^' ^ "- •>- «^ 

flow^'tr ^"^ ?"*. '""" ''^ (" '* ^"^ love or could be !) 
flowed also (If this m its turn was love) towards him ' 

th^*^*,,?^ I^beth, east of the Palace, reminded him of 
faL^r^ T '* ^"'"K""- Nets should hang ?o d^ 
from such wmdows as those. This too was London ^ 

what WMleft of i?^*^ * T* S»ve him, he must see 
rible div Atli r- V/*!**. '^''^ '* '''«* l^n « its ter- 

dandTfi^?^?!^' ?*^'lancmg. %hting, drunken sailors: 
^^ik W*' fT^ *'™*"' "^^ *«i^ hair in oil^ 
HerfpLi' ^ rh"*- ""^^ ** "^^ *^'*- AU London I 
matter^Tw Charmg Cross Station, which did not 
di^ iCwatlrn "i;!!!"^ ^''' Cleopatra's Needle, which 
clMelv,*!* ^'^ *° "»« sunshine. If you lookS 

"en secument was churned up in it. You could see 





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CHRISTOPHER 



19a 

*>.- «..M of the nmd-pMtidM turning over and over to it. 
the n»s8 01 tne """^ lT"*Jr ^JTit wm grey where sun- 
It was cloudy as dfluted milk ana « wm pey ,^ 
Uoht or reflections did not colour it. xct it was «»»""••"• 

»r^;?iseis-;s^%£M£ 

Sed for the sound of names, with the sound of its own. 

?^ffiti^^l^oSW it ««ned^ Two per- 

soi°:h^^^otag on to Gr^nwi.* looked after to. 

"What are you walking backwards for? -M he couia 

•^^^sffi'l like 1 r and a petulant "What did you wam 
to setUe to go up the saiy Monament for at aU ? All those 
.?,« when we might have kept on the water? 
"^^ ^ I SJf know whafs come to you to-day. 

X'jffitirie poor fellow was right. There 

"':£opher. maktog "s way to *he Greenwich^t <^d 

Sid^rr^^o^sf fS Tr:sf ^^^'it 

SSE-rha^=^Sr"^^ 
towering above you as y?\V^^^l ^Tw^ Indies 



CHRISTOPHER ,93 

with Lower Thames Street behind it. He did not want to 
know, but brightened at a mention of Seething Lane, hard 
by If inland and out of sight, and Crutched Friars. Pickle 
Hemng Stairs I He could forgive the officious for giving 
hun that. The Tower he could recognise for himself. But 
Wapping Old Stairs, suddenly I Wapping Old Stairs itself I 
And there were, it seemed, a Wapping New Stairs, and a 
Wapping Dock Stairs. The officious had their uses in a world 
where you must not miss anything. Christopher even 
looked grateful. 

He moved, nonetheless, to another part of the boat It 
was useless, however. He had to know. Elephant Stairs • 
Rotherhithe Church, Frying Pan Stairs. Limehouse ; MiU- 
waU (all amongst the docks now) ; Deptford Ceek ; finally 
Greenwich. The voyage was over. 

^u^f.j??'^^ ^* *^ "=** °* ^^ passengers. Here was 
the Ship," famous once for its fish dinners. Let be ! Here 
were odd Uttle eating-houses which tried to tempt him in to 
shnmps and watercress and tea. Here were furtive tea- 
gardens that had an air of being a survival from other and 
different days. The town catered for the holiday mood 

He saw barrows spread with Uttle plates containing straiige 
*en-fish ; smeUed near them the pricking smeU of vinegS- 
Old women sat by baskets pUed with oranges, or perhaps 
a httle staU on which were nuts and apples and sweets A 
dapper-looking man with a horse and cart extoUed the merits 
of Saisaparilla. Was every day there a sort of fair day in 
those days ? With many conflicting influences easUy to be 
detected, the spirit of the place was earliest- Victorian, with 
a suggestion, perhaps, of that of the Regency. Christopher 
iiau expected to hear the vy, vich, and weny, the veU, vot 
and WTsible (or wirtuous, or widous, or wenturesome— any 
kindred perversion I), of the days of Sam WeUer. 

He made for the Hospital, exchanged words with a pen- 
aoner or two ; saw the Painted HaU. the Chapel, the Museum. 
All these gave him something. Not what he wanted, how- 
evw, and he turned his steps towards the Park. 

A few couples were rolling down the hill 1 



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ry^ CHRISTOPHER 

Rowlandion wm it who should h»ve leen them? or 
GUlray ? or, further back ttUl. Hog«rth-^ho would have 
used them to point a moral ? 

The Maria Wood (not that he knew her name then), witt 
the top-hatted men dancing on her decks, Mid now toked 
eouptaTrolling down a hill I Was not the day boimtiMty 
generous? The day gave with both hands. He toughed 
acain, hugging himsell. 

But neither was this what he wanted. It was not till he 
had left this scene behind him, that the real spirit of the old 
park revealed itself to him. 

Then the ancient trees spoke to him, the gentle grassy 
slopes, the view of, the winding river. And then he reeap- 
tuml his vision. 



CHAPTER HI 
LJ E threw himself at fuU length on to the ground, and 

ra fte hill he saw the Kene as a map spread before iSn^ 

I^L?"* rr °^^ ^^^ '^'^ shades-lmnrldnesses, «d 
lumtoous patches, smoke-wreathings, mists, hazes, ^ 
whitenesses shot with iridescent colour, which turned foS 

qp«I. Or tte sun catchmg glass somewhere, or gilding, or 
^ metel would transform the whole la^idsc^e tato a 
settmg for isolated points of fire. 

It had been breery on the water, but here in the park 
Se TJ^t Tr' '^^ "t^V.After the freshness of the riv^. 
!^ * u i °J- *^®. '"" "P°° his back was very pleasant. He 
fetched himself closer to the warm earth. It ITTLy to 

^,S^r •?* ^ '"'' ""* °^ «»* *»-*" Ue naked Vl^t 

S ft™ "i .r"*T*^ ''*™™''' °' "» *« "ot pebbles 
u thmj. Life was fervent upon such a day of summer 
It was difficult to think that there could not h^Z^t 
".or any sorrow, any ageing, even-slackening of the grip 
paduaJcoohng of young blood. HiseyesrestedontheHo^pIS 

Tw^t?' .u ' ^^ pensioners down there, then-if 

whrtcV* ** *^1«^-^M ">«» ^hose fires biirned low 

r W „^^ ^"^ "f** '^^ ^^ knotted, who dragged 

doS fL"™"* *."^*^ ""• ''^ '^P^ °n woodenl^Js 
down the nairowmg aUey of the years, had they too fd 

^ Se^M^.l^'^^'*? ^^ ^ *«" ^' '"^^ ' Had they 
too ttinUed to the kiss of the sun as he thriUed now been 

such 4^d S ■°5i,r„tP^' "1* -^^"^ ^°°'' ^-"^ ^° «>- 

" uay ana say. Then I was ahve. 

The hour wouU come when he, too, would look back 

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Almost nnconsciottiily at the thought, as if to make sure that 
the insidious change had not indeed begun, he passed his 
hand over Ids body, over his chest, liis side, . - he half turned 
on to the other, over the hip, and the thigh, and the calf of 
his leg The finn young flesh under the thin flannel, the stout 
muscle undf ^ firm flesh, the weU-knit frame of bone under 
all— these, if he had been conscious of them, or wholly con- 
scious of his action, might have reassured him. Perhaps the 
sense of them under his unconscious hand did restore him 
to his pride of tl.em— the pride of the young man in his 
youth ; for the mood passed. Time enough I The day, 
for him at least, was not far spent ; the night truly not at 
hand. The years as yet were very long. 

There were lovers in the park, and he felt m tune with 
them. Only lovers see. Only lovers know. Quite ordinary 
and even quite ugly couples became transfigured for him. 
A drab pair, sitting side-by-side on the gi^as below him, 
were Daphnis and Chloe. Figures on a distant seat were 
Paolo and Francesca, or Abelard and Hdoise, or what others 
you may choose to think of— so only, that they be fast in 
the divine coils. A young artilleryman, really brave and 
beautiful in dean outline and yellow braid, and his exuberant 
mate (though she, to be sure, must needs wear red silk gloves !) 

He looked round. What had happened to him ? Then 
were many lovew if you set yourself to lool:— as many as in 
any sylvan panting by Fragonard or Watteau. Here were 
glades, lawns, bowers, to people, as one or other would have 
peopled them, with daUying figures, with figures playing 
love's eternal game. The world was fuU of lovers, and he 
had only just found that out. Love was everywhere. Birds 
kissing in the air should have hovered under drooping tree 
—doves, swallows. The music of hidden minstrels sb-.,uM 
have been audible ; the boy-god himself have been vis.blt 
The spirit of these things and beings was abroad, was to be 
perceived, felt. What, in truth, had happened to him? What? 

It was nothing mc^ romantic than the promptings of a 
very healthy young appetite that in the end took Christopher 



CHRISTOPHER 



«97 
from the scene of his afternoon's dreamings. By that time 

S«fat'"He^''.vt"U'"i""'' " *» P"""""- «♦ "^« *he' 
ITWbJ ♦h^T^^'"^ "' *"^ ^^^'^ '^» grandmother. 

tio2^e^.ch J V* °"u 'T Christopher in both dircc 
u* ™ **'**'*«* himself and went back to the town 
It took him some time to find a place at which X'his 

exaltations, he cared to have tea • but aH^nJ^ T 

L?sl' t:^ ''" 'r" °' -''"h'pK hiT^'d raS 

and-span httle parlour, which he had to himself whh . 
dehaous atmosphere of hot bread, he ate a dew^d ™ble 
and very hearty meal. A matronly woman^M clfrand 
al^Sn^rhir ■'"•^•"•^ ^"°^ °- whichr'prsid^'! 
He went back to London the richer for a strange day. 

gnrnJiotht'S 'i^u^' °' ^°"" «°'»« ' " Christopher's 

su^"*"^d'*fhr'!;l'P"""^ ""'**' *'"= «='•»" ''^ he had 
pX?;hS. ' *""" "*" «^°"'^ ^'-"* " - he had 
nf^^i advancing years old Mrs. Herrick had relaxed none 
of her hold upon Ufe. She did not, indeed, Anne ^^JZ 
look very different from the Mrs. Herrick who so Inla i?^ 
now, had ushered the arriving ChrislSer id TeSiSfo 
£r*t^£"?w:'r r "^'"^* SlovflmnToverS co^ 
Sei£;^*olJ4reZ7u«^^^^^^ 

-ayoZKn'v "T^r^"- H'SO^^withafZd 



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,98 CHRISTOPHER 

No. she wasn't changed. She looked at Fatima now 
much as she used to look at Christopher. 

'■You look very wise. Ancebel-Fatima, over there with 
your t«.c»p. ve? ^ indeed you look." .^And t^ed to 
Fatima's mother. " But I wonder whether, if it hadn t been 
STerlL old grandmother-in-Uw, she'd be m existence 
this minute to sit there and set us all right. 

Fatima opened wide eyes wider. 

" I wonder," Anne said, smiling. , . , ^ 

" I always consider that I made up the match between 
you and her father," Mrs. Herrick said. ..,,-„ 

^ No, she wasn't changed. If anyone was, Anne was *«»kmg- 
it wi^ Christopher's contented mother. She smiled happily. 

Mrs. Herrick had tot finished. 

" He'll be falling in love on his own account one of these 
days" she s^" and then you'U be by the ears, my 

*^us the trio under the cedars at Herrickswood. 

Christopher went back to London by train. He found his 
friendH^.ingay waiting for him at his rooms, and hmiseU 
S^wharaTi Ls toTccount for the way in which he had 
^7hS day. It had aU seemed so natura^ at the toe, but 
h^ to^explain? He, who generally welcomed the com- 
So^P of his chosen friends, and was deUghtoi to se. 
CSular one now. had for once not wanted anyon 
v^him Why? Face to face with the question which yt 
w^noTput to him, he did not know. So to Hamngays 
" I'd have come with you if I'd known," he gave but a lame 
" I didn't know I was going myself till I went. 

Harringay considered this, tried it with his eyehds. 

" Why Greenwich ? " he said then. 

"Why not? " said Christopher-" since the steamers went 

But in his heart he knew then why Greenwich. 

" You are a chap," said Harringay. 

•■ It was also the only place that I could think of at th 
moment And, yes_I remember-the man in the ticket-office 
suggested it." 



CHRISTOPHER 



«99 



Even to himself he seemed like one who is inventing as 
he proceeds. Yet he was not inventing. 

" After all," he said, " isn't this rather the spirit in which 
we're starting off the day after to-morrow ? " 

Harringay could only say again, " Well, you are a chap." 
And, " Upon my soul, you know, you are I " which may or 
may not have meant anything. Nor could Christopher 
help him. 

" You forgot, I suppose," Harringay said at last, " that 
we were by way of settling some sort of a scheme to-day ? " 

Christopher beamed on him. 

"We'll do that this evening. We'll dine somewhere, 
and go to something and talk it all over." 

" You are ! " said Harringay, but he agreed. 

He went off to dress then, and, by the time he came back, 
Christopher was ready and waiting for him. 

Two very immaculate young Englishmen were they who 
emerged presently from the sedate house m Jermyn Street 
where Christopher lodged, and who stepped into the hansom 
which was called for them. It pleased them to observe 
the extreme smartness of its appointments, the u^wer in 
the driver's coat, his deference as he stood up to lift the reins 
over then- hats as they got in. His " Where to, gentlemen ? " 
through the trap, told them pleasantly what bucks they were. 
They felt, as if he had told them so, that such splendid young 
fares did him credit, and graced even the last cry in hansoms. 

They dined at a restaurant in the Strand, and took the 
waiter's advice over the wine list. 

" If I might venture to suggest," he said, and pointed 
with a respectful forefinger. 

Chateau So-and-So, to be sure, was further down the 
myerted tariff than either of the diners had mtended to go. 
_ " Rather a rook, isn't it, for claret ? " said Harringay. 
' What about St. Julien, or St. Estfiphe ? " 

" I thought with the dishes you've ordered, sir . . ." 

■' AU right," said Christopher. 

" Very weak of you," said Harringay afterwards. Aloud, 
m a brave effort to recover something of self-respect for both 
of them, he said, " You'U see to the temperature." 



it 



i 






i! 






aoo CHRISTOPHER 

" Rely upon me, dr." . ^ , ^ ^, 

Came the wine in a cradle. On less distmgaished tables 
the St. Juliens and St. Est4phes of other diners stood vulgariy 
upright. On theirs. Chateau So-and-So, like some disdainiul 
woman, lay at elegant ease, and, her mouth having been 
wiped for her by the waiter's reverent napkin, could ahnost 
be heard to give voice to the Tush of her order. They were 
just the least little bit in awe of the recumbent bottle, 
whose eye, they both felt, was upon them. Would they lose 
their heads? , ,. . . , 

Harringay said, " Jolly good," but did not hold his glass 
to his nose or the light, or otherwise behave ridiculously ; 
and Christopher managed to affect unconcern, tempered 
(in deference to the attitude of the exacting bottie) with 
appreciation. All was well. They rose in their own esti- 
mation, and were happy. The waiters buzzed about tiiem, 
waved dishes to them before carving or helping, hung on their 
orders, or anticipated them. They were grown-up and young 
too, to some purpose. 

•' Another bottie," said Harringay. 

" HaU-bottie," said Christopher. 

" If you like," said Harringay, " though I think we should 
have been good for a bottie." He turned to the waiter. 
" The temperature was just right." 

" I thank you, sir." 

Less than ever was the earlier part of the day to be ac- 
counted for. Reviewing it from even the trifling distance of 
the few intervening hours, Christopher found it difficult 
to account for, even to himself. Had he been to Greenwich 
at all ? Or, more exactiy, was it really he who had been 
there ? The whole thing was more like a dream. Even the 
Uly-white maid, as he strove to recall her, was elusive and 
misty and intangible as the recollection of a dream. And 
" lily-white "—what word was this ? Where had it come 
from? From what old forgotten ballad had it sb-ayed? 
Yet without once speaking it, all day long he had been 
applying it, as if it wei« the most ordinary in the world, 
and as if to feel a need of it had in itself been most natural. 



hi! 



CHRISTOPHER 



aoi 



He looked at Chateau So-and-So and smiled. 



They came at length 



The pleasant dinner proceeded, 
to the coSee and liqueurs. 

" And where are we going ? " said Harringay as he Ut a 
ytte It w^ what Christopher's grandm^ L h^ ^^ 

^fo^^thSL.^* '''^''^'^- -'^ ^^ -*-^^e 

sav^ "'EiTeJ^h^ CMstopher would have known what to 
say . Everywhere. From place to place. Everywhere " 
-with a mental reserve of, " Till we find her " ^^^"^"^ 
I ^72l^\ '^^- ''Anywhere you like, old Harringay. 

" That's aU jolly fine, but we start the day after to-morrow 
and we've got to take tickets for somewhere." '°^"°"°^' 

Where is there ? " said Christopher, 
jniey sent for a foreign Bradshaw, and when it had come 
pored over ,t their young heads touching; or withZ 
I teU you what's " and " / know's " and^Here rive it to 

ihey began a process of selection by exhaustion which 
*ould have been easy, but appeared to bring S °o n^ 

generaUy-most of Europe could be barred out at a stroke 
s^fectS^^t'' " T"" """^ °"»y *° ^ d^b^a^d 

♦hP^l" J*.*'** ^^ *° P*y their bill-stifier a little than 
4tV,:^,^^^' °^ ^ '^ten.oon's jaunt that 



frl 






1 ••! ■ 



it' 



1;/ i 



CHAPTER IV 
■nUT in the night Christopher woke-the fever was upon 

But he had only spoken rt-or not spoKen u 

he knew of them aU. Sleepmgs vne giv . j jjiese, 

and other sleepings ; waitings, vigils, he knew o 



CHRISTOPHER 203 

He knew of fevers too, tossings, groanings; of the shaded 
candle in the silent room ; the dick of the medidne-bottle 
gainst the glass ; the dckings of many clocks on waking ears. 
He knew of ugly revellings, uglier laughter, tears ; of sweatings 
-songs of tile Shirt— of trampings, meaningless wanderings. 
He knew of lonely figures slinking through by-streets, saw 
the broken boot and the huddle of shapeless rags, heard the 
voice of ihe outcast who murmurs to himself. He saw into 
prisons, workhouses, hospitals ; a murderer v.ould hang in 
the mormng ; the hands of an old woman plucked at the 
counterpane on her bed ; a boy swathed in bandages kept 
up a low wordless moaning. He saw night-watchmen in empty 
buildmgs; iarges on sUent canals; the river; played 
the sunset, tasted thunder. Ustened to still ink, and tiie sone 
of the stars. ^ 

And suddenly he was back at Boulogne, felt breezes witii 
the smeU of seaweed in them, saw the flapping of the sou'- 
westers and tiie wooden spades, and vhe yellow oUskin coats 
outside a shop which he knew as the Cakfon Shop on tiie 
Port, and the fluttering of a blue veU which was not his 
mother's. The veU fluttered before hun along the Rue de 
L Ecu, or up tiie Grande Rue ; or down the Pier, past the 
httie restaurant midway where tiie prawns and lobsters 
were displayed, and the lifeboat house ; or along tiie Terrace 
where the sand was blown into Uttie heaps, or on tiie Sands 
themselves. The veil fluttered on tiie Esplanade, he caught 
ghmps^ of It upon tiie Ramparts, it was not absent from the 
aasles of the catiiedral or those of tiie church of St. Nicolas. 
It eluded him, yet showed him the town. He had fifty 
unpiessions of forgotten tilings by reason 01 it : sand of the 
Hoor of an estaminet-^and, always sand at Boulogne ; tiie 
sudden sound and smeU of savoury frying ; tiie pattern of 
a white cap ; butter on a cabbage leaf ; tiie way a hand held 
a purse, or a hand dived into tiie pocket of an api n heavy 
with coppCT money ; sounds and sights of the fish market : 

of'^^Tfl *'^"f °° ' *^^ P*^™« °* ^'«^ ; *e ^aP i^d flap 
01 great flat fish upon stone ; tiie look of gold rings in eare 
or on scaly fingers. The veil was not his motiier'^ He did 
not know It for anybody's. Boulogne was witii him by 



w 



pi I 



HI 



*j.; it I 



CHRISTOPHER 



304 

reason of it nonethdess ; not it. even, by rewon of Boulogn^ 

Sx^n^rhis ts^ It .'as another hour before he slept. 
M i„„ I ,na as when he was a chUd and a child's dream 

^^■^Xihafs what I came for-to take yo« there." 
Christopher was heard to chuckle. 
" We'll take each other then.' 
" Something's got to be settled." _^ 
" Something has been, something is. 
" I want to go to Trouville," said Haxrmgay 
" We'U talk about that at breakfast." 
" We talked about things at dinner. ' 
.. Tell ftem to do plenty of bacon," said Chnstopher. 
Harringay went into the sitting-room ^sd rang. 
"l«iy;" Christopher heard him say presently, 1 m coming 
to breakfast." 
" Very good, sir." 
" Do plenty of bacon." 



CHRISTOPHER 



205 



with " What should be ? " for a 



" Nothing's the matter,' 
rider. 

HMTingay tiirned speculative eyes upon him. This 
somehow, wm a new or, at least, an unfamiUar Christopher! 
I thought Hombung aU right, you know," he said, 
rather sorely. "Ihkedit. And one was just getting to know 
people, and we hadn't half seen what there wis toiee about 
tnere. And I thought you liked tennis yourself. Why it 
IS yon who suggested Homburg." ^' 

h J V^"^'" ^^ Christopher. He laughed-at himself I- 
, A ^"f ^ ^^ "°* °*^'^« *•>« direction of his laughter, 
and studc to the pomt. It was all very well, he said-aU 
very well. ^^ 

^^^^% "^^ '^**"« '°'" ^^ stepfather. John Hemming 
would have known where people did go to at that time rf 
year. Christopher could not have told him, of course-could 
not, that IS, have taken him into his lily-white confidence 
My more than he could take Harringay. But withodt doing 
this Le might at least have found out what he wantedlo 
bad^y to know. He had never before felt so ignorant of the 
"ab?,^'^°J'^" * ^^ P*°P'' 6° *° ^ August- 

Aix-la-Chapelle he drew blank. 

" Where's Baden-Baden ? " he said. 

oi'It^T f ^"'^'." ^^ Harringay. " baths and waters. 
W course Hraibarg is, m a way, but that's different. People 
fL ?T used to be Tables. Why Wiesbaden, for 

STdon" S^"*:;^7^r°^ °^ '^"- ^y «>- c-« ' 

hPr^K^^^^'.T*'."'* "" ""^- ^** ^^ did know was, that 
wItS':^d Ba^ ^"^ ^^ "^ °* ">- ^""^ -"'•^ •- -^-«^ 
geiiS/'^So.^'' Aix-les-Bains," Harringay was sug- 

Christopher went on a new tack. 

,, i°" said something about TrouviUe, didn't you ? " 

somethfn/*^.^'" "* '^^'^ '*^"g- One had to suggest 
somethmg. Fust you won't start-settle about sta^ 



'I. 

'HI 



111 

li:;, 



If: 






CHRISTOPHER 



ao6 

anyway, and then you won't .top-stop .tffl, I ^.-Jf 

wdTilone. ytmkiow. What was wrong with Homburg ? 

I liked Hombtirg." ,.*u^," 

" Would you care to go back there t 

Afh«- «il Ae mieht have arrived sfaice they left, ner 
..t1^ loSAe a man who would break journeys freely 
W^v^Slnrmdds. what were the breakings of jo^e^ 

"l^^yTLS^!^ tag for the moment, his 

'^r'S^topher. who had not seen H« at Homburg^ 
caSd not see her there. He had seen shm 8^^ ^^f^**"* 
d^, and once, with a leap of his pulses, he had fan^ • ■ 

& was hardly -^ J^ST"^ S£^"^I ^ 
Haningay— was it possible ?— was saying aBaui. 

"°M»hS" Ibout Trouville ? " said Christopher. 
"^Si'tlSwhow^one gets there from here. It would 

mean more Bradshaw." 
" But what's it like ? " __ 
" There's bathing there." 
" People go ? " 
" Lord, yes." 
" English people ? " 
" Heaps." 

yTnl^^-t reason with madmen. Harringay contented 
^^!Sw7?tSd"^ '-'^^ Bradshaw . I leave « 
*Te-ioumey was not very difficult. The intelligent m«. 



CHRISTOPHER ,07 

!Sn^^°°' *!!'*'•"'*•''"»"■««'•"*•*'«>'■ them. Thdr 
^^.r "*'*'?' ""^' °"* *»" •'»" » '^''t <" note-paper, 
shange. It is qvite easy, you find." ."««». 

But neither was she at TrouviUe. Here were plenty of 
dm, whte maids to set your pulses beating for a breaSeS. 
moment, but none of ttem was she. You had only to grt 
Z^t^T^ tv **• "°^ """^^ y"" have imagined, ev« 
1™„ . ^''^?« ""*""""* ' H**^ «"!<» y°'> h*ve funded 
even a superfiaal resemblance in this one or that to the lady 
01 your dreams ? ^ 

S^^ ^i ft T ^ ^*^y- "'^•'ly «>at ^I'e was in 
thZh t? '*'" ^"""^y ^^^^ ^- "d he was suns 

Folf Jltf *^*'*- ^* "*""= l'^^* "*»•« ?•»« » the Black 
SoX ^' *^* *^* ^^^'"' P'***- "* '=°^'^ ^ her 

d.2! ^,^ •*^'' "^^ ** TrouviUe. Here were mcndaines, 
d«n™ondames, actresses. He could not see her amongst 
th«e-m a way-though. in a way, he could. She wasX 
?4mf ^nt^^f ."U* ''1.*^ "^ *hese, but something thafthj 
«r\ ^ ^'^^ ^' *h« had ; or something thS she h J 

iS rf , "" -"V^ ^T^- ™' *""*** extraorLS 
look of exquisite workmanship, of delicacy 0* texture of 

ErCrd^miSiT'^ She-^th.-meS^iSS't£ 
«ast word, made flesh, of a late civilisation 

wifK wu '"" *he was in Germany. As he could see her 

S^ I' "" '=°^"'' »°^ Pi-^ture 4e sort of place in^hT^ 

tteS^iT' ^'*^* ^''- "^^ *° have looked for her in 

sSJ T "'^ °° ""■^''P'' ^ *he woods, by the 

ciaMe'^S V?^'°i""y-^°'*' h"t '"'^ for an appre- 
uawe penod, he lost the vision completely. He be<ime 

^^^T^d'i/r^P'f feUow-trfveUer^: hifsa^ 
th^it^ff i^*"'*;^ "^had slipped from under a s^ 

i S„ li ^^ *^ ^'^ "h" had laid it upon himC 
S^al H^^^^rr"^'"^ occupied-inot look^ 
^KenS Tth!"^ ^ ^^^T" °' heart ; bathed, s^ 
leave TrouSle™, Th**' wu °"* °* ">' •"<! "°t ^=«t to 

I irouvme. This, though there had been talk of Ostend, 



I 






^li 











Mil 



CHRISTOPHER 



Weppe. Bn.g«; ^ SwiU«Und; UnUtivdy. even. o. 
Gennany •«•&«. „ H»-iB«v. Chrtotopher <M not 

leut, lor the test lew wed». „ 

" It was sea-a« 1 ^r^-^sT? He thought that he 
He paused upon that. The Sea < '^ 

always did want the «a. Not q^e ^^^^^ '^thing 
with stripped <»',=»r?*^"f"u?^*eaSr other; pretending 
in it. taughing. tf»^' "P^^J Site this sirt ol sea. 
to teach each other to *««"• Jot ^^^ ^ jelled and 
The real sea. not a ««ita ^^^^^f^^jji dandng to 
tuckered sea ; a sea d«ff -^P^^^'.^ Ma which 
» '^'- 1?* "^Z S^; Sff^ motS. That sea 
rtaJt'iSt:^S^the sea men go down to u. 

*&a upon this thought r^ra/^-^i^ai 

gome dangerous ^ay *° t^' f^Ij^^on oi himsell, 
oltheaea. 



CHAPTER V 

■pUT he iMd not been wrong. For weal or for woe he 

H l^u *°, "l*** ^- N°* '»<»^- Not " abroad " at aU. 
ne met her in London. 

Much water had run under the bridges by then. It was 
Mdnter. He had forgotten-not aU about her, for that could 
not have been nor could ever be, but he had forgotten the 
amazmg sensations and emotions which the sight of her had 
caused hun, and he had certataly ceased to think of her. 
She was in her place, nonetheless, in his mind, Uke those 
wvid impressions of his childhood which no passage of time 
could really efface, and it needed but the sudde^ sight of 
her to teU lam that what seemed dead had only been sloping 

He met her at a dinner-party given by a Mrs. ConstaSi 
m Grosvenor Street-a dinner-party to which he had not 
particularly wanted to go. The pull was another way. 

A !SS? J^^ ^^'^y- ^^ "^"^^ a"<J JolM Hemming and 
Ancebd-Fatima, were going to the pantomime at Drury 
L^ that night, and he would have liked to be going with 

■n^ffr* ^ll' "^^^ ^'^ y°" **»* t° 80 ""d accept stupid 
invitations to dinner for ? " r •• f « 

frJ^^ii^'^r'*"^''*'; '*'*^' *"" '"** "; ^^y-<'i Ws own 
to^sdf?' ^°" please l-must he needs so have bound 

"Weeks and weeks beforehand too," said Fatima. 
Doint : ^"l Christopher, was so much the more It-the 

so iiauair as a long invitation. 

toTT7ti^^\^r^ .^ I^ndon-Ebuty Street even !- 
oL ^c* ^^T- J"'* "^ "' '"°th« and he had once 
'ong ago stayed m London for part of his own. They were 

* «09 



I - > 



iiil 



4\ 



CHRISTOPHER 



John Hemming often imem- 



a to 

doing much the tune things. 

drive ofi : flaiihed dwsring, and pre«mtly CMne down 

•^mimner, lielping him on with hU coat. g*ve Um. 
mottMWgUuice of approval. He was »*r young genttoman 

StamoSS^aahray. " -" j" "» J^^^tS' 
had either of them known it (or Trimmer herself even !). 
that a piano-tmier was unconsoled. 
She Ct to the hall door with him to whiatie for his 

'"T^Thouse wherp they had lodged was nearly opposite 
ItS Sed ht^ds more ttan once ^^ J^e^J^ *J;f„ 
were spdcM of now as the old days, and had recentiy been 

^itonSlr'SSer^SSstill drips." he s«d.l^ng 
not in the direction of the subject of t« speculation, but up 
the street for the cab which was not in sight. 
Turner shook her head. She did not need to be toid 

what he was talking about. 

" The red blinds are new too," she said. Thqr usea to 
be yetw^t least, they had been yellow once Th^ we« 
London colour when we knew them H«'» ^'l^'^' 
^d she's married again. Settled at B«rt«i, 1 ?» /ol^. °o 
you remember the toy you left there, sir? She. ^P^^.t 
for you, and you didn't like it when I brought it to you. 
You got so red, Mr. Christopher." .-whtatle acain 

" Wd I ? " said Christopher smihng. WhlsUe again, 

'^S^ you wouldn't say anything," said Trimmer when 
she had whistled-" not you. You'd outgrown it but you 
rather have died than let anyone see. I don t^ow where 
^ the cabs have got to. Do you know somethmg else, 

sir?" 
"What's that?" 

Your mamma's got it still. 
Christopher raised his eyebrows. , ^ ,. home 

" She Iwsn't outgrown it. It's in her wardrobe at home 



CHRISTOPHER ,„ 

^i^^J^'l T"*™"* P*)-**. •mlUiig at tome thought 
ThwetoneconJngnow.sir. No, thafi engaged. wStV^ 

-wme yew. .go now. I knew it in a minute. Little miller., 
jT^rt.*^ff" '"*° ""*"• '•«•*• But I .id 

?I-^ ^-:. ^"l Trimmer. Put it back where it wa..' " 
Trimmer wnlted again and looked at the whistle in her h««l. 

Shall I go to the comer, sir ? " ^^ 

" Hell Mnd one aU right." 
Jfe kMked over at the house opposite. Trimmer looked 

^^'jThat aU Mems yesterday," Ae said, jerking her head 

BottTth^mTeTr"* '" '"'^'"" ""^ "" ^••™*°'"'- 
" We went to pantomimes, didn't we ? " 
Did we not, sir ? " 

it SL^aLoT "^ '*''° '" •*"• ^ "*«« "^ •^-". 

" This rotten dinner-party," he said 
j^. ^u;U enjoy it when you get there. Here's your 

AM ''"i"**" »"" I »»«w't. old Trimmer. I never felt so 
dttinchned to go to anything." 

Si?w.^rj^? ^ i"^*? ""^ y°" ^•" '«i'l Trimmer. 
SLe watched the cab till it disappeared at the comer 

Je consciously permitted herself), and a loneer look aS 
tte ho,« that r^sed so many memories i^ &Xw 

"\t M. "■' '^ "^"t •»* t° •>««• work. 
smilW pi^S: ."^ T°i"8 aU right," she said to herself, 

nuna with which to set out to meet pleasure. But she sighed. 

frien'?'*?^'?''' "^^ ^*'' •»"* ""t the last. His hostess a 

^t^SKtf;;"^' "^'^"^ '^ cordiaUy'S' i? 

S't W iZ m"* ^^^ "~™7^ t°° hot, but one reaUy 

I imow how to manage, did one ?-said. Now let me 



i y 



'■ !! 



J SI 

l7i 



aia CHRISTOPHER 

See, and consulted her husband's list, pulling at the same 
moment at his sleeve with a " This is Mr. Herrick, dear." 
She then forgot aU about Christopher, and went off, the list 
in her hand, to someone the other side of the room. 

Christopher found himself shaking hands with an elderly 
man with grey whiskers, who said, " Few women left like 
your grandmother. Marvellous woman. Still gets about, 
does she ? Why she must be— but we won't go into that. 
Eats well, does she ? Keeps her faculties ? Without spec- 
tacles you say ! Can she indeed ? Wonderful." 

The room had the unsettled air of expectancy that precedes 
the announcement of dinner. People stood about in desul- 
tory little groups. A sitting woman, craning her neck, 
talked at an uncomfortable angle to a standing man. A 
couple of dowagers sat importantly on a sofa. There was 
a rattle and a buzz of talk, but heads were turned upon any 
sign of move nent at the door. One of the dowagers seemed 
to be talking about a bathroom. Christopher tonged to 
hear why the water would not go down. . . . 

" It was hot water, too," he heard her say, and the other 
respond that hot water, she had always understood, was 
supposed to rise to the top. That, you might be Sure, was 
the Reason. . 

He answered his host. Yes, he had been at Hemcks- 
wood in the autumn. His grandmother even erigaged her 
own keepers. Marvellous ! But he strained to hear what 
the plumber said. 

" I had him up myself and I showed him the mark with 
my own hands. It was all down the wall of the Uttle room 
off the drawing-room— my room, if you remember. We'd 
had to move the pictures, as it was, and my writing-table 
as well. I said, ' / can't be expected to understand,' I said. 
• I'm not a plumber.' I think I had him there. ' And 

what's more,' I said " 

But what it was that was more, Christopher was not to 
hear. There were further arrivals, and he missed a large 
chunk. When he could listen again his dowager was saying, 
" And that's why I went to Aix-lay-Bang instead of Scar- 
borough." 



CHRISTOPHER 



313 

a r^ Of SSI^^i-L*- :S4^S C~' 
Mr. Heccadon, a welcome guest it was evi^n*' , a 

She then remembered Christopher. 

the^^thnr^^tjnjfo^S; "^ ^- '^ ^^^^ " *o 

have tien my d;uehter ^^R ^' "P" '^"^ *«« *» 
taken-^BuTitlX i?^^^ "^°" -^ *° ''''ve 

hoSilo^STy-Stiii^!'^"^- C^topherf„«:dhim^ 

ing'^orrgSe?ecS^-"""'.*'=«- ^ -^« '-J" 
a stone h ™t| the S„^l^ ""P*'''"^ '*'^'^ ^<J *<="»» 
ChristopheTh^ obL.SSTh^'";.'''^ """^^ ^ ^ d"*"- 



i'fii 






He was seated at the table watching her, with a sort of 






■^Ifii 



a,^ CHRISTOPHER 

inward vision, as she drew ofi her glov«. before he^c^e 
hdly to a sense of what had happened to hun. ^e «^t 
thought that came to him upon that was that he did not 
even now know her name. The scatter-bramed giver of 
tte feast had not spoken it. Trust such cursonness such 
S^SflXess as hers to omit the one thing that mattered ! 
Ut her Xduce Mr. Herrick, she had said and flown to 
the arm of her waiting Personage, leavmg Chnstopher to 
take Us bearings as b^t he might. He was consaous now 
of a feding^irritation. Yet it was to the very quaht.es 
whTch i^ated him-by which even the name had come 
Stingly to be withheld at the introduction-tiiat he 
S^?rlnt astonishing fortune. « the h^tess had no 
^n hanin-scarum, he would have had Geraldine, daughter 
ySie hTe, to partner, and she beside whom he now sat 
would have been divided from him by other dmers and 
almost the length of the long table. 

From his plfce he could see the late-comer and Geral- 
dine "looki^ in his direction. Geraldine. he knew, was 
Sng out to her cavalier which of her mother's guests 
TwaL that he should have taken in to dinner, and which 
of ^m it was who should have fallen to her. They were 
SuS Mr. Heccadon, looking up the table, regrett^ the 
«Se, Christopher fancied jealously ,^d «)nc«ved an 
Sd See for him i Geraldine, he beheved (modestly), 
did not. He felt grateful to Geraldine. 

The gloves were off now. Christopher thought he had 
never seen such beautiful hands. They were young, sta, 
wWte; of lovely workmanship and finish. They •n'gh' 
Ce " sat " for hands. Such hands had sat for hands from 
S Le BotticeUi knew them-most of the early Ita^an 
mast^, many of the late. Yet, except that, m addition 
to a^ exquhite shape, they had a character an.i ^ mj" 
^duaUty which no painter of the seventeen^ . centu^ 
troubled hSnself to allow to the hands he pamted, it wa^ 
to iS^^^ts of Vandyck or even Lely that perhaps m«t 
^y^ou would have gone to look f or the^ counterp^ 
^the perfect hand of the painters, the Hand Beaug 
S convention, lacked subtleties tiie presence of wind' 



CHRISTOPHER 315 

Chratopher recognised in the hand which in the trivial 
conduct of the moment was now lifting a spoon. Thought 
informed it. It was a modem hand— a young, healthy 
hand, but the hand essentially of an age " sicklied o'er 
with the pale cast of thought." The wrists, to which his 
eyM travelled now, were exceedingly beautiful also. He 
had not dared yet to let his eyes rest long upon the face 
lest they should betray hun. 

Suddenly the whkling in his brain which had confused 
hun ceased. He seemed at the same moment to emerge 
from clouds which had confused and enmeshed him. Or 
it was as if he had sailed into smooth out of troubled waters. 

"Tell me your name," he heard himself saying, "l 
want to know your name." 

At his words, but perhaps more aptly at the sound of 
his voice, or a new sound in it, she lifted her eyes from her 
plate and turned to him. 

" My name ? " 

The eyes which were unveUed by the Uf ting of the curved 
hds were blue, but very dark. 

" I didn't hear it. I don't think Mrs. Constaple "—he 
looked towards theur hostess—" said it. In fact, I'm sui« 
she didn't." 

There was an answering smile. It collected, arranged 
and docketed the lady. It was as if she had said, " She is 
the sort of person who wouldn't. You couldn't expect it. 
One name is as much as she would ever remember at a time." 
She did not say this in words. 

He waited. 

" I heard yours," she said. " I wondered whether you 
were a descendant of the poet. I looked at that "—she 
nodded towards the little slip of cardboard in front of his 

., to see if you spelt it the same way." 

" I do, but I'm not," he said. 

He wished that he could have said that he was. He had 
often wished that, but never so much as now. What a spot 
from which to take off ! If he could have said, " The man 
who wrote the 'Nightpiece to Julia' is my great, great, 



rf-!l''. 



i 
\ 
{ 

: f 



* 

i t! 






■ I 

< if.. I 



3l6 



CHRISTOPHER 



" But I shouldn't have hated Devonshire," he said, hall 
to himself, following out a tho\:ght of his own. 

" Yes, you would," she said quietly. 

He looked at her— if he could be said, since the mists 
passed, to have ceased to look at her. He believed that 
she changed her mind about what she had meant to say— 
or changed her mind, anyway, about saying it. 

" Or you wouldn't have been Herrick." 

It was hedging. She had not meant only to say that. 
She met his questioning eyes. 

It may have been chance. It may have been her very 
youngness. (She seemed somehow all the same so much 
older than her Iooks.) It was a moment or two before the 
eyes of either released the eyes of the other. Then the white 
UdsfeU. 

She went on eating her soup. 

The look was as long and as deep as the look, months 
ago, which passing between them — strangers— had so 
greatly disturbed him, which had robbed him of his peace 
of mind, set him wandering with the disconsolate Harrin- 
gay, ended his search and begun it. Was it possible that 
she remembered, knew him again ? Was it possible ? 

Again the clouds threatened to engulf him. The whir- 
ring started afresh. He had a physical sensation of dizziness, 
during which for an instant, but only for an instant, he 
caught the eye of the man called Heccadon. He must con- 
trol himself. People would see. She herself would see. 

She finished her soup. His own, scarcely tasted., he pushed 
from him. 

The party had settled down to the serious business of 
the hour. He heard scraps of talk detached from the babel 
of voices. The dowager with the bathroom was abusing 
the Prime Minister. 

" Nor am I saying to you what I haven't said to him," 
he heard her say. " He knows what I think. I said to him 
myself, I said, ' If you think,' I said " 

A louder gust of other people's talk drowned her utter- 
ance. But, " I think I had him there," Christopher did 
hear. Another case of the Bathroom and the Plumber ! 



CHRISTOPHER 



JJn authoritative little ™an was' asking for whisky and 

the'°;omen\'%*"ied* vf °^' "^* «>« «>»<=«"»« of 

wanted to wm; to tofsJli *'"'^ ' "« '^'"l »«>* 

as a rider t^The l^lf^ted'S^'^' ""^^ '''^^y' 
"You haven't toi^rnlrT^^"^'''l''°P^^- 
The white lids were raised again.' 

longer. He beheved ^«f .h- f "S*"* '°^ ^t"' « little 

agents as servante ^A^A- 1 ' *** ^''^" ^"<* °"tside 
h^r reply "I^Se^^ h^-:, ""^* "'"*"'''^*« *» keep 

sel!?tohi:rca^hS'\.» -- ^'^ ^'^^ ««« -ho 
But Witt her^S^!^^tr^.'?>^ '^"8'^* Christopher's, 
he was haxSy coSoS^^f 'h^"? ^"^ momenta,^, and 
""^'e. We braS^ 1 observing it. "Oh yes, my 
« far as De^Sf " "* ^°'^' ^"^'^ ^« ' We go? 

nofXr!':^tttdeS'\'7'.*°°'' '^^ ^ ^ "-ow. 
different di;ect!on " ^"' "" '^'•'"=' '^'^ ^ ^^-y 



IJI 



h:? 



^1 




CHAPTER VI 

WHEN he came back from his ^"t'^j^'^f *° ^^il" 
logne he thought he aad alwaysknown_ It w^ <« «, 

behind hif ignorance, had ^ ^tiTSf 'krs St J^mS 
St. Jemison's daughter-daughter of tiie l^^^' ^^„,d 

Jb,tM..im.>),.'«™»^i»»l..to.^ te™ U. «Md, 

whimsical indifference. It '^^'f'y^J'ojUs good grand- 

which was whoUy absent from *^* ° °"!_J^ j^^^^ th. 
mothers, and only present mn^hpWedeg«e«^ ^^ 

other: something of ^^at bold symp^hy^ ^ 

breakers which f 'T^-'^^f l^.^roSht^didnot-^on- 
Rightly or wrongly he did ""^-^L ^V^^^ns out of hand. 

thinghad been estabUshed between them 

^Vy then " he began eagerly, b^^£^°f ' A„d by 

What had he been about to say ? <f^^ f ^^^th. U 
how Uttle he had escaped saymg >*• Je h^*''^^ „„ ^ 
was not-or not alone, anyway-that he had oee 

3l8 



CHRISTOPHER a,g 

^\^m^^ t!!"' ??*^"'' •'"* *''»*• » »»« had spoken of 

bJed I^ J^ ^IT' ""'" *°"* ^* her. He remem- 
S«. »iit? * '''' ^^I 8""*?* "^ *he sands, the looks 
askance, aU that was said, all that he nad observed but hS 

wLi understood. By that time the recollectionT 

MLT'", ^. ""'"«''' *"** 'he fact of his stepfathe,^ 
h^s affection for him, his acceptance of him, the veiy habit 
of hmj-firmly enough established to divest of any ^wefto 
disturb hm. aU such misgivings as fuUer understS mfeh? 
have occasioned him. For himself, he took things and S 
Th^H """ ^^"^ '^'"'' "^ ^' ^°' himself, heTaTacSS 
SfrS*sA'P'^*n ^' '°: *^ ^'' heside him't; 
^ it mi^?^ »!i- J*™^" *° "■"'her. Thus the knowledge, 
fair I .T* been expected to influence his feelings forhe; 
^kmW« ^V''^ mother-touched him l!^ at I. 
As :t might affect her herself, his sensations of the last few 
momaits showed him that it affected him profounX 
,r,Trf^^^'!°'^ *°''^' ^*h which to extricate himself 
a^layedwiththefishonhisplate. The dangerous momint 



the lmZt.H w^^'"''*^' ^^ '^"'^^'^'^ whether in truth 
what 2?h, t been dangerous at aU. Did she know ?- 
bS htlt„^?r" ""^^^u^'u- • • ^"^ •»""* even ? She had 
£K ITJ^y,^ ^"^^ *''"" ^'' ""ther was amusing 
D^A«L 1,.^^ ^^' "P ""^^ *h« windmiU-in sS 
peAa^ how far ,t was exactly that she could throw her cj 

ove n^w^f!;;'"- ^' '^^'^^y^ *^" «>•"« hundred tii^s 
tt^t "t^' h«* «emones were long. She could not faU to know 

sc^cehff»^i'ir^°.*^P'~*'*^ held a skeleton. She could 
scarcely fail to know its nature. 

nim^mbe,K,T^°"* ,^' ■'''™^ whether or not she 
tiM h!^« ^' *° J^""^ '^^ '°*<^« "P °* ""issed opportuni- 

hrffiL^^:^^**^''*' But he could not. Instead 
talked of eveiythmg else, and watched her-leaming her 






CHRISTOPHER 



390 

t V ^ wh«fhfir the exerdse made him happy or 
face by heart. Whether «« «"rr .^ ,^Bed him— a« at 
«Aappy he did not ^n" V,SS\^ ^r^. laugh 

such T""**** ^n^hL e^^i ? ofehSvely about the 
aomewhen^-behmdherey^wMrtf But the graveness 
comers of her mouth ? He coma noxw. ^^^^ „^e 

and the Uugh were ^* ^''^, ^^'th^'heV?^. They 
him feel again how niuch oldershe vm mm y^ ^^^ 
^adehimmAasuddenrecoU^on^fter^com^^ ^^ 

So-and-So-irrelevant here, surely, to »™ P" u to be than 
^"°®" .... * ^,r«. 9he was young as the spring leaf. 

Hadshe? Hadshenot? Hadshe? 

Happy ? Unhappy ? Bo&. ^^^ 

held out her hand. Christopher walked badi 

Happier than ever before in his Ufe. 

that he should have seen Cora St. Jemison, iw»™ 



CHRISTOPHER 



tmt 

telpher h^. learned her mune. even if her name mnst 
01 necessity cause hun some m sgivinij. So bade unthinv 
i«gly, he went w. J, th. r^t. andteTtime w^^At^t 

The old house, which was " home " to him ^3 m„„ 
ttan^er delightful after the Ebun^ StS^' S- h" 

would sit with a boolc and his legs drawn up to makt rAnm 
for the lengtii of them ; the oldffashiorj helt^s fteTow 
«U«g», the leisurely staircase. His stepfatlier had iXrited 
fte house ateiost as it stood from an old unck X hid 
Bved an unhurried, orderly life i„ it, pi^L^ Jts^J^ 
peace. Christopher loved It, had gro^Tk^ i^ tTe^ 
pr«^^onable days, he had grown trthe old Cch t^To 
which, though he had left it, as we know, without a Z«r 
he alw^ looked back with such affectioii. Now it sS 
^ mood, as perhaps never before. He wanted to think- 
resting, as a rower on his oars. ininK— 

He had something to go upon now. Though he had missed 

tZ^i. *"* °"??* "°* ^ ^« St. Jemison-could not 
find her. No longer could the wide world engiUf her With 
a name, slie had also a local habitation. He had S to ^ 

If, mde«l, need would " be." He was surf h. could wa^? 

r£Z thn'^H '"* ^'°^^^*° "^ '"'* grooves He 
vriS w,„i?^ Hemming and Fatima; walked or drove 

SeSC^^/ '^- '^'""^- P'^y«* '"^^ P'-°- Nothing 

^d then everything seemed changed. 

anJheTwriehJ'; "^T^f "^"y- She was in London, 
I he coUd s^d it? ^ "^'^ ^'^'- «°* "^ *>« ^'>-S^' 

his\T„«n^f "^^ '"**^ "P ^^ ^°i^ when he annomiced 

tahSS^tion^r^M?*"^"''""- His mother, ^^ 

I to W f*°t «^°: *"<! nothing. It had been a great delieht 

Kst^ S'w^^^ '^'•- °'^°"» absorbedTmtcSfo 
I year. ««i when OxfoRi released him. so many peopte 



■ f 



h li 



if! 

iij 

111 



CHRISTOPHER 



333 

*°^''L"^r C mS."^«Sr^ «» one must 
-T' ^^ It WM always like that. But just ««netimes 
bother him. U wm ^ZiL. „hen Christopher had been a 
Anne looked ba* to the tune ^^^J^ ^^ ^^ moments, 
Uttle boy. and she had had h>» *» *™;^ ^^ g^e was so 

happy ^^^^^-'^:'XSt^^ol^^'^'''" °^^' 
T^On^'r^C^tZl,.?^^^^ tears in her eyes. 

"" mK'^ou w«.t to go to U>ndon for ? " she urged. 

" You've been there." „ .. ^ .. ^ad been the 

It was what she had f^wh^^^je Her words caused 

question. Her wits were fienduhly T^^^ " "' adversary 

Anyone might have said ttat. Bu^^It s that giri 
-Jtr^Sl^aSrtS'seen. anj having see. 
to remTml^. and. having remembered, to say that. 
Christopher was startled. 

:: KetiLlr when Munm^y and I -^^oi^,- ^ 
rickswood,andyouwouldn't-that- Fatamanaon 

— " that white girl." 

" White girl ? " 

It was almost uncanny. ivj„v ni her " 

^.^Srwaswhite-that-showoi^wo^^^^^^^^^^ 

." rJ^lS'^^^'look^^ F^tima blankly, and a. 
himself startled. ™ .."^""T, ^.-i-ed itself from him. 

""Hrwas'p^cS H^ --^ '^^ S S 
aSes wereWuP on the ch«rs. trousers, coats, wa^ 



CHRISTOPHER 



333 

«»ts ; and the bed was covered with «hir«. u 

c-ing home ^ before he w«t tScto^^o^' "" ""' 

Yoi.rton'X*'"'^'^^".^*'- "'"months ago. But I «,w 
^C^T^aJ:^^ *''«"*'^ *-*" each^other-sVeS 
" If Uttle girls are going to talk nonsense " 

yo«?i*^L!3^';^ rv^rTundS" nr?«- 

vSo^ °- '"-'> - the^-rM.Tsa1; yo^tlSXt 

i^x e^?-neT^.?.s* ^sr M^S^ 

fading novels, my dear-^d^STy bad^«^a? tt^n "J ^,1 

•Mtr^rr^s^^rT-^SeJ^r^^^ 

, could alter the facts vlZTu mantelpiece I-nothing 
hheknew. Shel^-l^:?^'"^"- ^Wstopher knew thl 

fastS'^pS^ S'^r^l^'^ "l^f^ ham in turn, she 
defeatherrwsev^ 1^ *?" ^^ disparagement to 
I A stranger, sllne ^IH^^" ^irl on a platfonn ? 
IshecomffromT^Sr^""'"^^*!- Where did 
[when the "Tplu ?!ffK,VFV°':' ''"' ^' '"^ °°t ^^"^ 
r'« ' cast ' UDcThin, A ^:^**^* * «<=*"^ phrasing I)- 
■^»oshTLr^,^^S^^->A.yWhel Cias 



And was this the sort of person 



? 



( ,; 



If. 






'J 41 

11 



*H 



CHRISTOPHER 




-You've been re«Ung noveb." .aid Chrtetophet .gain 
" and Uatenlng to charwomen." ^^„ the 

. J .=.!«■ St IftiuM's' he went back to htooU towns. 

K'wrX'his^d^r^m^while he .. staying ^^ern 

that i^that he had first seen her ; from them thathe h«l^' 

3955sr.^trt-M^7: 

lo te ^^mpuied, but he intended, come what might, to 

accomplish it. Thpre were such fogs in 

London was under a paU of <°8- J^^'^^e have almost 
those days, recent though they be. as J? ^esej^hav^ 

a whitish mist. By Richmond the imst had notnmg 

"^ "■ ^^S^^^seSStand'^Shtdll^n^ 

He b«l telegnphed to J™I" J"S.fS. .tooi •! "• 



CHRISTOPHER 



^ i. ^J^>'>^n could be what London wm He HW 

t«veu«i ittch distress and Inconvenience. There was 
»«mrtWng not nn«»y in the murldne... F„m the hej?" 

?hp™ .,!m ?*' "•** '*°™' "P*"^ dowers and dosinf 
them pulliiy out or pushing in the treys in the wardrol^ 
openteg or jhuttlng it. doors. A drawer stuS or a momS' 
and he heard the restrained sounds of the adjustment oHt 
and then of its easy sUding home. There was no impatient 

Zt^"^ iT'"- JP^ '°8 »^"* ^^ « ^th plea^t tS' 
Md his spirits, which had sunk a Uttle in the tr^^LgS 

leJE %t ' ^'"here in the darkness was Cora St. 

HaK^" ^- ^* '•«■ •*''»*''"8 every room, tuminc every 
l.ff :J^rto he?"^™ **^ ^ ^' blackn^.'L^S 

;■ Mr. Jelllcoe." 

' Sir," from the inner room, 
^^e sound, ceased. His landlord appeared at the folding 

th^Zu^ '^ \*^ *° *' '""^ as a Red Book ? " 
Mr. Jellicoe thought so and would see. The darkness of 
tte passage ««1 the stairs swaUowed him. oTristopherTenl 

ZS^Zt7'^'^l'°^'^r'- Thi<=kyelIowwavZoUe3^i 
agai^ the glass. He could see the movement m what looked 

SrS?v;r''r°"'' ""^"^ '^«'* **= *e particle^ ZSg 
^ »^H r •'" I"****' ■" •>« ''«' «en the chumedTud 
frM and turn m the watera of the river. The foghSf w^ 
S 0^/* \"^' » *« ' Now the window was Uke t^ g^ 
w^ of a tank m an aquarium, through which you look tftS 
Chri^^'' ^"^ °' **«°8e fi^ So like: ind^ thi? 
w£t"h H°"" °°* ^^« "^^ Christopher Tf while he 

theT^t't. I y*"°* murkiness, ctose up to the glass 

i^tt ZtTJ^ Tt^ working^utoLatiS^; 

pernaps, as of tamished silver, into the further obscurity. 






aa6 CHRISTOPHER 

So engrossed was he with his fancies that Mr. Jellicoe's voice 
'*^e?myeentlemen'8.8ir-Co?onel Whipple;*. My own 
was iSt qm^e ^ recent. Colonel Whipple begged you would 

•^^C^^^t^ooHhtrr^Iding a message oi ^ajs 
to iteowner and Mr. Jellicoe withdrew. The sounds of the 
tate^^iking were continued for a minute or two 
Sd^n aTSS of a door follow^ by ^ence Jd 
Christopher that the thing was done IBs doth«. neafly 
f^ and ranged. Uy conunodioudy. he knew, m the 
Kers His to^« and combs and shaving-tackle were set 
S :;Serly on his dressing-table. Everything he would 
find, lay where his hfind would m«»t readdy l>«hton it. 

He looked at the book which he had not yet opened. As the 
naSe tad bc^n \rithheld from him for spaces of time which 
^'sSeTprotracted. so now he was -it^^^t- 
himself what the red volume might have to teU lum. He had 
™^ to look- he knew that. Somewhere in black London 
ifi^S^St. SnSn. and the book he was holding knew 
i It was deUberately tiiat. up to that mom^t^ he 
Sn^t sought to know where she Uved. He had hked to 
Sow ttaThf did not know, but could know. He lu.1 daUid 
^^ feeling for so many days that he was f '"<^»°tto 
^ ^ itWhy I Explain the k,ver-*ny lover-^ven 

*°"ow he did want to know. The need which from the 
beghSnS might be, was. H. opened the book «k1 turned 

*%f (^le. St. Germans. St. Hill, St. John. St. Uger. 
'*^r?;2nSSe; HelefttheSa-ntsandtumedo. 

""Z SiKa^to'l^rs^! aSng ^ ey«i.. But ^ 
WvTlt m^t be wronff. the list incomplete. St. Jemison m^ 
Sdt out to e^r^Betveen St. Hill and St. John ftere m-^^ 
Simn^wSichwerehereunrecorded Besides. he ta^tW 
theT Jemisons had a house in I/)ndon He »««i hearfto 
SLdmither Herrick.who had known them years ago. ^ 



CHRISTOPHER 



**7 

of it. He rang, and a servant answering the bell he sent down 
^^f-p^Wngif hemight see Mr.^coeW rS R^ 
w^h. he had understood Mr. Jellioi to say w^ JStld^J' 
Mr. Jelhcoe hunself appeared with the volume. 

old, I'lS^'^ *° '"^ "• "^^ "'« "»°^« than ten years 

now-Et £*V t"^*'" f«J Christopher. He beHeved 
now that Mr St. Jenuson had had a house in London and 
m an probabUity had disposed of it I "'""on. and 

Sr Germans, St. Hill, St. Jemison. There it was- St 
Jenuson. Oswald, Esq., 3 Wolf Street. MajSfeuJ ^Hm 

ifrTIw-'?"- C'-^*°P''--ed'theS^anaJol5J: 
' ^i^"T' "'"°S' *f apologising in turn for hiTc^ 

AlniMt a reflection, so to speak, on the house " ^ 

NonseMe," said Christopher, a little abruptly but with 
a smile. He raUied himself. " You're admiS supplJld 
with everything: Bradshaws, A B C's, ^bj GuiEfn 
^ne^thinkof. How should one expect toSdSl^S 

nZ^X '?*''" F"}^^ ourselves, Mrs. Jellicoe and myself 
upon the house being weU found, sir." ' 

snS!^ ^ ' Not «. simple a matter as Christopher had 
ffifi ^"f T"^ ''*'* *° ^^ ^<^ and watched for ^ 
fhat t ,^ i°?*.*^* ^"^"^ "* *« aquarium. K Zst^ 
ttat he looked mto now, fog pure and simple-^r imD«M ^ 

w2 f '7*"°* t *''*^''-**°^ ^-^don windo^vC to d^? 
Watt I^ndon as he had walked the world ? He weirt to tte 

tt^t^: ^^^ **° ^^ ^y' and compared ttr^triesl^ 
he nught have compared accounts. " St Hill, St I^^ 
at. John, and " <!♦ mii c* t 1. » », jemison, 

"bahn^" rtTtK- vL-^*- ^°^" " you could but 

St H«i%* ^ ^l ^^^"^ St. Hill and St. John from 

"3 wi S<±"ri^*-./<'*»' '^^ 8«* St. Jemi J, ^th °te 
3 •yon Street, Mayfair," as a remainder I 

Mra'SllT^' ^! ^'^ *hat his next move might be. 

M shltl^ ' !? '''^*^ °* *he wonderful evening, erratic 

» tZt T ''""r '"T"''^ "' *^« whereabouts TZl 

-^tly her guest. She would know, anyway, where 



1 I 
i 1 



,11 

1; ! 



,^ CHRISTOPHER 

Miss St Temison ha4 been Uving or staying on the night of the 
S?-iS Y^ho^ to *»d out suffidently casnaUy ? 
So^for this purpose, to make suie of s^«fj»« ' ^l 
^nd of these qu^tions was in P^t of <h^^ th^^^ 
He did not want to waste a viat. He had s^, it is toie, w 
"Jt' X dining-^ ceremony more P«n<=tiH°'f ^^^f 
in Aose1;^™now-but if he did caU, and tte pxxi tady 
iZdhtont, or even Not at Home, what then? What 
SSeWdhehaveforgoingagain? Ea^enough, perhaps, 
to be casual, but how to compass the opportumty ? 

He found himself out of doors presently. FO'^'^J^fXlo 
not hold him. Four walls did not even seem any longer to 
howSrasT Temison. With the knowledge that he coidd no 
te JS tta 'iTwas^n London at aU, he could not thmk of 
bJZT^ a lantern, pendent somewhere in the darkness, 

*°-Se°Cbad not lifted. Rather did it seem to have thick- 
enS fti fte pavements, even, the going w^ careful 
Se stoPpS e^ other to ask where they were, but mostiy 
SaS^nt- A cheerful old woman wanted Km^ht^ 
Kl^^». Hm voice and a twinkle in her old eyes attracted 
SSoph« wZlootter by a fat arm. -d pUcrt^f ^1: 
P^oidfllv There, upon the south side of the street, there 
»3^ a straight quarter of a mile which she might pui^n 
rSiS^ttSy. Heofieredtogofurtherwithher.but 

^thfw^ri'Stt^. she declared, once she knew her 
diSoT-^ a merry old body, and chuckled her thari. 
He reeretted her when she was gone. 

InX roadway the traffic moved at a snad^a^ o t^ 
sounds of hoarse cries. There was ye^. even h«e, a feb^ 

of cheerfutoess in aU thu, d«Tf°^. ,",^'^^ithat^• 
there," and " Where are y' conun' to, can t y ? witB a le 
dS to banter upon the «naUest occasion or non^Cto 
toptor felt his spirits rise again. He forgot Ws um^ . ^ 
.^rendered himself to the influences ol another sort of strange 
day. 



CHAPTER VII 

HE made for Wolf Street. He would look, at least, at the 
house where once she had Uved— if only as a chUd. 
That It would be impossible to see it, was a small thing to 
one who just now was less Christopher than Romeo. Fatima 
had not been far out of her young reckoning when she talked 
of a spell. The white girl had assuredly used enchantments. 

He crossed Piccadilly, steering a hazardous course through 
Oie moving mass of vehicles, and under the heads of the 
horses. Who left the pavement, that day, cast off and 
trusted himself to the open sea. Christopher, forced by the 
exigenaes of the moment to take an oblique direction, landed 
not opposite Arlington Street, where he had parted with his 
old woman and whence he had started, but between Dover 
Street and Albemarle Street. He crossed Dover Street then 
and Berkeley Street, and rejecting Stratton Street for a 
cm-de-sac. rejected Bolton Street also and Clarges Street. 
When, a few moments after, he found he had passed Half 
Moon Street as weU, he turned up White Horse Street, and 
lost himseU m Shepherd's Market. Five minutes later he 
lound hunself inexplicably back in Piccadilly I 

He found Wolf Street, however, eventuaUy, and made 
out No. 3. He saw it better— saw more of it, indeed— 
than he mi^t have expected, for lights ware bominit in 
fte lower rooms and the blinds were up. Under mvS of 
the darkness he permitted himself to look in. 

Strange the lover's obsession by reason of which one spot 
snonld be haUowed over another, one house picked out 
from Its fellows, and, for no quaUties of its own, made separate, 
made wonderful ! 

To Christopher there was something of mystery and en- 
chantment m the house before which he stood, and into 
wmch, hke any gaping errand-boy who hangs on to area 



J 



1 



ago 



CHRISTOPHER 



railings, he gazed. Not that he, Christopher, was hanging 
on to railings. He was standing quietly on the pavement, 
a tall, slim figure, shrouded in fog, but as deliberately and 
unashamedly was he violating the sanctities of a stranger's 
hearth. 

What satisfaction he got from the odd exercise it would 
be di£5cult to say. The room was a library, but it might 
not always have been a library. Nothing may have been 
as it was in the time of the St. Jemisons. Still, it seemed 
probable that the room had not been much altered. The 
shelves which lined the walls looked as if they had always 
been there. The stuffed leather chairs were such chairs 
as assuredly ought to have been there. There was a large 
writing-table. There were branch candlesticks on the mantel- 
piece. The red Turkey carpet looked soft. 

A comfortable, well-appointed room in which, doubtless, 
someone lived a comfortable, well-appointed life. A score 
of such rooms lay within a hundred yards of where he stood. 
Then, as he looked, the door opened. Someone was 
coming in, and— so much grace had he !— he moved at once 
to move away. But even as he moved something happened, 
something so extraordinary, or at least so unexpected, 
that, Uke a veritable errand-boy, he did now— though for 
a very different reason— hold on actually to the spear-heads 
of the railings. He held on to them while the world turned 
round. For into the room had come a gh:l, and under his 
astonished eyes the girl who at the first glance was just a giil 
like any other, grew first vaguely famiUar, and tiien, with 
a suddenness which took his breath away, became miracu- 
lously but indisputably Cora St. Jemison herself. 

How long, after this miracle, he hung to the raihngs he 
did not know. It was a servant in the end who dislodged 
him— a kitchen-maid, with cold in her head and a scuttle 
in her hand, stepping across the area to fetch coal. The fog, 
away from the light of the windows, swallowed him up. 

When he came to himself he had walked as far as Oxford 
Street 



CHRISTOPHER 33, 

The fog now began to lift. It was as if it had played 
Its part and might go. AH this for Christopher ? AU this. 
Light ^owed through from above. Though there was no 
perceptible breeie, masses of dirty vapour must be rolline 
away overhead. He thought he could see them so rolUng 
off, as a short while back, he had seen them rolling up to 

hBwmdow. Horses, carriages, people, began to take definite 
sbwpe. 

dristopher's spirits now rose to boiling-point. He might 
ask hunself What now? He might ask himseU what he 
wanted, he might puzzle himself with all the questions 
that ever were or ever would be, nothing voiild thenceforth 
persuade him that, for this day at least, the gods were not 
upon his side. The fog itseU had come that, out of the dark- 
ness of it, he might see into a lighted room ! 

He walked down Park Lane. The houses were breakine 
ttrough now, the railings, the trees. At every yard thi 
day grew hghter. His heart sang to the tune of the coming 
light. He watched it creep over the town, driving the dark- 
ness before it. 

Again he could rest. He could even have found it pos- 
sible to go back to Datchet. He understood once more 
bow and why he had been able to go home with the othere— 
a rning which less than twenty-four hours ago had seemed 
incomprehensible. No longer was he driven. He could 
rest. 

Quite idly he watched the happenings of the moment : 
a wagon with sturdy horses pursuing a rumbling, leisurely 
way ; a hansom, made top-heavy with a trunk, swimrine 
loopwisewid ridiculously on its springs; two omnibis^ 
abreast dallymg with a temptation to race. Looking at 
these he wanted them not to resist the temptationTbut 
when they did resist it. he acquiesced contentedly in what 
was after aU their better judgment. Then a girl in a tight, 
shabby satm dress, with a milliner's cardboard box on her Mm 
came mto the scheme of things, and was stopped with a 
touch on the shabby satin arm by a young postman. Lovers I 
He saw lovers as he had seen lovers at Greenwich. Lovers 



I 



: 1 

n 

'..in 



933 



CHRISTOPHER 



suddenly were everywhere-^)eople in couples. He turned 
into Tilney Street that he might look at the house where 
Mrs. Fitzherbert had lived and loved. ... 

God »« in His heaven. All was right with the world. 

And then Christopher knew that he was hungry. 

He took a hansom and drove to the Strand. The day 
had taken him back to the other wonderful day, and it 
seemed fitting that he should lunch where he had then 
dined, and, above aU, that he should drink Chiteau So- 

""a wsiiter waved him to a table, but he looked at another 
which was occupied. Nor was he to be baulked of it Jot 
the waving of napkins, howsoever persuasive. He intended 
to sit at the table at wllich Harringay and he had sat. He 
waited for it tiU it became vacant, which, happily, was 
ahnost at once, and looked on relentlessly as it was prepared 

for him. , , ^t • r * 

He ordered a modest lunch, and took up the wme list. 

Chateau So-and-So was not there. 

Not there! He looked again, doubting his eyes. 

Chateau So-and-So was not there. It was Uke St. Jemison 
and the Red Book. It was the Red Book and St. Jemison 
over again. Not there? Chiteau Everything else. But it 
must be. Even if it wasn't, it must be. Came the waiter ; 
came the waiter who looked after the wine ; came the Head 
Waiter. Consultations. (Growth of importance for Chris- 
topher !) A going to see. „ / *i. 

But the day was not going to fail him. Return of the 
Wine-waiter triumphanUy. There was just one half-bottie 
left— just one soUtary pint. Half a moment, sir, and the 
man withdrew. But Christopher knew what it was. A cradle 
for the soUtary pmt. That was it. Chateau So-and-So came 
back redinmg, warmed— a Tush on her lips-indolent, in- 
solent, deUcate, deUdous as her mother I Christopher had 
not been wrong. The day could not fail him. 

He ate slowly, enjoying, conscious of enjoymg, what 
was set before him; thinking, but hardly consaous of 
thinking. It was thus, that without knowing that his mind 



CHRISTOPHER 



333 

^tiOT of the St. Jemison presence in Wolf St^t It 

hf^ il^ house-probably for a term of year^d now 
&iLS ^f*i "^.Christopher, had I^SI^T^p >;^u 

Sert^'^ik£rwr.^4rySr^s.^i 

Cora became again the most beautiful name in the world 

SeJrt Tr ^"'^"'^ °* «'•' syllables wS.S 
posed It. as he hngered over the luncheon. " Cora " It 
«P«s8ed the Cora of his dreams and im;ginin^if oJ 

^ i^n" h?^^ "f's «™?thmg. He could not help know- 

type tuat he had seen the escaping hkeness which for th^ 
|«stant of its duration, had set his hLt t^^pS^' or' sfopS 
't? There was something. But it was part oflhe cblT 

JSj^hi ^ ^^ ^^^J"^^ *"**• "The crowded Strand 
weived him-accepted him, as once it was the CrysUd 
PaUce which had accepted him. The song of tte moment 
-It may or may not have been " White Win^-tb^- 

W? '^L'^' "^^^^ ^- ^«> «»»a«s Xr sSs. 
London ah^ays hummed for him to the tmie of sLf ^^ 

fj^^J*"' ^"^ •"« ^ ^* become aware of f^ Z^ 

it was^T fni. A^ ''S" "^ ^"*- "'■ " What cheer, Ria ? " 
he mn» *^ ^°™* Rooney." The more the songs altered 
ilZt^^C^r'^''^''^- Tl>etown«h^ 

told^rnw,1ri of "Mother Shipton," had not learned 
n^ ma^ter^* ^^^ ^f *° *^ '«* «»d thmnp of " Taran? 
th^ «Z^ then the mtncades of rag-time, but when 

^ ^l^V^:'' r^i"* J""* ^'^^^ London hke tte 
■■Th. nT^T^ '*'*' *" had their part : " Comrade " 

thP^^TI^r "l^T*" risorto:;idho.S^ 
we taces I love-I sor England's valleys and dells ") ; " Ifar- 



1{ 



■| 



.1 



,34 CHRlStOPHER 

boor Lights" ("The lights o£ the Yarbour. the Yarbour 

BTtsH: "Hi-tidiy-hi-ti": "D«y".: V^^,\tt 
Mna"- "It's all right in the summer tunt — most ol tliese 

«m. <rf course, unborn, but each in «» «J*y-..^.«X^ 
it to have been " White Wings J' i"st ttjm- White Wmp; 
in the streets, and the " Garden of Sleep." say. lor For 
Ever and For Ever " in the drawing-rooms. „ 

"Night comes; I long for my Y**' '* ^'«. .,'^*^L 

to rhyme with " weary "I "I spread out my white wmgs 
and sail home to thee." 

Well, young Christopher, if only you could, eh ? If only 
you could. 



CHAPTER VIII 

AND yet, his ardour notwithstandine his heart h„n»«. 

to have'^sivS^ferTlS 1 Mr'°sr? '"■'' "^''* ^ ^^^ 
for th» fir.*^ X "'^- **• Jenuson, it chanced 

tor the first time for yesjs was spending a wiiter^ Fnl' 

Oxford S^hif ^S to t'hr* ^TP^'= °* ^*^ •• ««»> 
of airentrr^ ° ^ **•* gnndstone now— aU sorts 

he went ro^d r^^if ^ t^ •*/""= ''^ ^*^^ °^ the^ 
done since tted°rf»h^,ri T^-^ ^ °"«° >>« had 
was shut up It L^j'^f ^^ ''^t ^» her. The house 

one occasion wLTSs irhf ^ ^"^ "P" "P°" *^« 
wuen It was not, he should, it was plain, on 

«35 



4 



■i" 



CHRISTOPHER 



Ly pretext or none, have ™«^the Wljtnd have gone 
d^ worS^tU lor A«ne-««1 perhaps H«ringay«ho 

of green country thrown in, and Cora. Alway. and always 

^L mother met him at Uverpool. She could nothelp rL 
Sh?1.S h^ to It was, perhkpe, she who had beckoned 
a the^fhwere l«bwn-«he and Trimmer, who came with 

"' T aMdare vou've grown, Christopher." 

"M mTJ"?" ^ Christopher, la«8Wf«/ •t??]?'?^*? 
kiss hi iato. He really looked taller and had fiU^ ou^, 
S w« ^iU on the slim side. There were grounds for de- 

•^^e ml? 'sh*^ h^o his grandmamma," the privileged 

exai^^Kt^e miglt have been, what in some ways he was 

'"Jrie''S,?ri:? r!'H^ck as if they envied her h« 
son^'^e'SSrS hardly old enov h to be ^ moti-er - 
Jntly did thThappy years deal >*'"» l?er^ji <*"*** '^"^ 
for no one but him) was so obviously not^^f^ ^^^. 
Harringay had landed at Queenstown. The *««. r^« 
loiBhTS, travelled up to Locion together. At Ei^to^ 
SejX Hemming Ld Fatima (grown -^^ 
ChStopher told her) met them Trimmer ^^^-^^^ 
sp«*, her livery. Five contented persons slept m Eb^ 
Street that ni^t. 



CHRISTOPHER ,37 

The next d«y Chrbtofdwr went to Wolf Stmt. Thehoue 
WM diimantled. The boud which c«u^t hii eye from 
the end of the street announced that the lease was for sale. 
He went down to Henickswood, then, to report and to 
show liimself to his grandmother, and resigning himself to 
further waiting, just went on with his life. 

It was now that Christopher began to write. It had 
always been Inevitable that sooner or tater this must be 
the sorry fate which would overtake him. What escape 
was there for Mm T None, from the day he saw Cora— 
Uttle enough before that. The need to express came then. 
The thing itself was decreed— decreed in the " Come along 
Master Christopher" days, established from the moment 
when he saw what wasn't there. It was not for nothing 
that it had once been said of him that Herrick was Ustening 
to the inkpot. He miy have been listening, it was cer- 
tainly now— and through Cora St. Jemison, by reason of 
something that she had done to him— that he heard it, and 
heard it distinctly. 

He had three hniidred a year of his own. He bought a 
box of " J " nibs and looked out for rooms in London. 

His grandmother was angry. The Herrickj had been 
soldiers when they had not been country gentlemen— or 
as she might have added, spendthrifts. No Herrick had 
evet wielded anythteg so unpractical as a pen. Robert 
Hemck had not been distantly connected with the Her- 
ncks of Herrickswood, though there had been Herricks at 
Herrickswood then a couple of hundred years and more. 
The pen I A thing to play with if you liked. She could 
appreciate Bdles Letbres. But, for a profession, the symbol 
Of a career . . . ! Thus, to Christopher's imperturbable 
swung, she raged or pretended to rage. 

" If I were ten years younger— not if you were, I'd have 
yon notice I— I'd box your ears." 

She allowed him to kiss her for that. 

His mother, though she helped him to look for rooms, was 
ai^pointed. It was John Hemming who, at this juncture, 
understood him best 



CHRISTOPHER 



■• Let hta •lone," he ••«. "The boy'U do. H he wyer 
-r»««iri wortt the p*per It's written on. he won t have 
SS'wS ^XJJoTHe Unt me^t ^^-^-^^ 
«^thftt vou've wanted for hir'— not that 1 ""^-^^ 
^S^^UTh ha. been aU along that you've expect«l. 
XJ^he to have been? Nelson? Napoleon? 

" Not Napoleon," »aid Christopher-smother. 

"Wdltarton then. Pitt? Fox? Pahnerston? 

A^^STiee why Christopher shouldn't have a career. 

^^iLTfta^word up in the dictionary." said her 
hu.iS''Sv?;:^ideatha?itmea«sagood deal mo« and 

'Ct^w^S^totttcareer. «. one knew better 

th^ciLi:?^e!.1S! did mrt even «J*;*- -^ ^ 

^-_*„n. u he didn't quite know what he coma ao, ne 

Sr^ wS ^SU^t he could not. ami « »«rf *-« 

S^SssthriSSh^'-^-H^ 

SSSer. It was when the three were three lines stiU at 
^ e^ rf is many day*-at the end of as many w«la. . • ^ 
S^S^iSst^? Hadhenothingtosay.infine? He 

Xl^ft^tt^'S^ the words mastered and aD going 
^ ta^etr^e barrier, the -^. '^P*?^^ ^S^»tS 

was asking when he was going to Begin. He «^\^^ 
S^tSTad begun, "^iti. ir^ Jo^^^^^^^^^ 
^rld be might know it-that if he had also finished be nw 



CHRISTOPHER 



'39 



bagim. Bat there most be something to show, and he would 
come near to believing that then never would be. 

Tboae wen the horrible days. 

But then wen others— days when his pen had wings. He 
ooold see them almost ; two little wings on the shaft, like 
the wings at Mercury's anldcs. Then would his pen fly. 
Then would the hours fly with it. It was a delight to add 
another and another page to the fattening bundle. He could 
hear the inlqxvt's purr of satisfaction. For it had called 
to him. He had not been raistalten. Christopher I Chris- 
topher I Ridiculous if you Uke, but (to Christopher) dear 
in its hour as the Samuel of that call to which " Lord, hen 
am I " had been the only possible answer, with " Speak, 
Lord," to follow naturally, " Speak, Lord, for Thy servant 
heareth." Truly then wen compensations. 

He had rooms in Westminster, in a house now gone the way 
of so many of Westminster's gracious oM houses. It was 
not unlike the house at Datchet— had the same broad window- 
sills, tow ceilings, and leisurely stairs. He was high up, near 
the stars, but even in this upper region the work of the buiUer 
had not been scamped. The walls wen panelled. The 
stoping floors wen oak. Then wen handsome mouldings 
and cornices, the beauty of which the chippings and mellow- 
ings of time had done nothing to impair, but seemed rather to 
have enhanced. The fin-back of the old grate in his sitting- 
room was a perpetual joy to him. For less than he would 
have paid for folding-door'd abominations, " communicating," 
in South Bdgravia or Bayswater or South Kensington, he had 
the top floor of the house known as 3 Cloisters Street, West- 
minster, within sight of the river and sound of Big Ben, to 
himself, and his ready or reluctant pen. His pen should never 
have been reluctant in such surroundings. 

Mr. Jellicoe, his landlord of Jeimyn Street, had helped him 
to his quarters. As Mr. Herrick was looking for rooms, might 
he vwture to suggest some that he knew of ? The house- 
not, he was afraid, in a fashionable neighbourhood— belonged 
toacousin of his wife's ; a Mrs. Rommage, a very qiSet, 
'Mpertable person, who, he was sun, would do her best to 
g>ve Mr. Herrick satisfaction. Mr. Heirick who, with his 



CHRISTOPHER 



Z^ (the Mrs, Hern^ingoi M^Jgico^ ^^J^ 
who came sometimes to Je™y".''J^y' J~^ -ven Bav»- 
iSravia. South Kensmgton ^ ^^^^J^eS 
water in his search. l^P"* "^J^f^hto^^ ^ bets 
Mrs. Rommage's top floor, where we mia mm 

and fevers and ^P°^„„„ Th- act and fact of Uving 

So m«^ *°^^,SiHe^as?^ti^more interested. 

were at this penod the ™ng. ne waa , ^^ ^^^ 

whatever he -^^»X^^te "n ^fhldings. the biU- 
faces he saw. the a^yertiaemenra uu ^^ 

sticker with his ^"jf ,^P**^P°^: S Westminster 
of an odd name. ti»^.P?f^°i'ih3s or left them, than 

would gird himself and wa^ «f' ~^ explore Islington 
Hampton Court or Hamps^ead. or hejuw^ discoveries; 
or Whitechapd or HMrton. "e m^e y^ ^^^ 
found the Bnt»^Jh«^^2^rS^^''3„^^ 
-^"rSt*5fllSS3-Jtw._^^^^ 

*''crvS'Sel2;S£?-'>e would be seen in quite other 

^^ntly..in ^^-'^J^r^^^'^^ZS^: 
created by his t'«»I*«^^°*'K^L'^e^^«^an to come in, 

:sj;C:i::s^ned^^w^^^'^^"*»-''-^" 

him once more upon his >ov^«^^^ ^ came in to find 

Mrs. Rommage was an «5^°V'°dr;^'^disturbed her ; 
but she had an anxious mind. A telegram 
two telegrams flustered her. ._.„ ^ when the first 



CHRISTOPHER 



«4« 

S^*'h imT '^'V«>"'« another ! I didn't know what to 
do. K I d known where to send, but I didn't. However I 

"S*,*^^*!^**- ^is« the first, sir " Shebrokroii 

S S" XT^r- ""li"^ ''PP^hensively, ^te°of 
the other. No, it would be that— no. this . " She 

Sl'f*^?;*^'^'^''^*^- "«I haven't beenandmixed 
^\ it ^'''^. ' *"•"■ ""*?'*« *^^ ^'Parate this th,^ 
S ^rJir^'^h'^! And what Mr. Jellicoe would 
^L ^' "^^ .H«nck. sir. I thought to myself. he'U 
want to know which come first, sure to. and I wouldA't let 
tte servants so much as touch them. One come, and th« 
the other. And now I don't know which " 
jChri^er comforted her. Perhaps it would say inside, he 

She rrfuaed to be comforted. It did say inside. But 
^e shook her h^. blaming herself. like Mr. JeUte^ 

"Not any the less repre'ensible upon my part, sir" 
Kanmig herself, and anxious but not inquisitive, she with- 

•nie telegrams sorted out into their proper order proved 
tobe a summons to Herrickswood from Us grandmothT 
h-oohng. it seemed, no delay; and a whip. Shew^^^Sow 

he w^Sjtf "^ "" ■?T«"' "^ '^^ ^- -h^- 
ne was starting at once, and if not why not. She was not ill 

^ thoughtful enough to inform iL. but ^. Z^\S;^ 

th^h7^'^^'^^ "^ P"^°*' •"•* "Oder it Christopher 
S^anh^ ~'^i**f *^** ^'^^ ^a* not whimsical. He 
telegraphed, packed a bag. and caught the next train 



CHAPTER IX 
rl footman-but "^Iwm to to surprise, that she was 

grams ? " in impatient P*""*^" J^'^ot that I mightn't 
l^thatlcouldhave elegraptodit. A^^^^^'^^^Have 

either, sin«= by «>^«S^ K'^t^P^ they are. 

in now." , 

He took his place beside hw. ^^ 

.. You're too late, I may ^°^*^^'^; of my own- 
for. I wanted P"*^*"- ^^oXhave done, oddly 
you. Christopher. Your """^^^f^ve asked it of her. 
Lo^gh. But she's ti«f •J~'^'^X^e>odof you ? " 
Andlou don't get your t^egrams. What swb „ 
'■ What's the matter, Grandmother Herrick i 

But she was crying. ChnstqpHMs mb j j^g^^jf^ 

"^G*S." Christopher sjud ';^y^^ ,^ ,or his 

He had never called her ^^"^^^ ^ thou««i 

gentler grandmother-^ GW^^^^^her too. 

tendernesses. It *"« ^"^l^ln w^iian was saying. 
-' He was sodi a pretty boy, the oia wou-u. 



Iv 



CHRISTOPHER 



343 

"People used to turn in the street. Make much of him H« 
had yellow curls. I'm talldiw of half a lifcK^« f 

S^J" T"* '^-"^^ert much ^TXJ^ 
^^ ^;,- ^ T^^ °"« «™« ^hen he was il^. ?^ 

Me TOs prettier stiU at the age when it's dangerous for a^ 

as father minded that more thanl^ iv^!^ ^' 
I e™, undewood, ..d .^l^SZ. St^iy" ^3?: 

She bmk,. «« rK ^^ ? ™- ''^ * as a boy I see him still." 
inlJ^tSf S^^^i^^lf"*^- J^o-i^-eU that 
needed^ SX ^T^ ^*t"« *'^'= °* *^^ «"«* she 
the sleek co^^^s ^^ ""^ ^^^^^ '^"'°« 

she added. ^^ «»an to him. And after that, too," 
1^ n-eU me how you'i« getting on," she said a few moments 

He told her something of what he was doing 
But you don't get your telegrams," Lllld. 



' i 



CHRISTOPHER 



a44 

,„^ir™ftatIwJi«iy«,. My«r>t™to».Il«- 

tkI «n«t was over when she had sent the iirst telegram, u 
iSS^^Xt the nerves, theretofore of iron, seemed 
to have had her at their'mercy. 
n;ffir«W to reaHse the horrors and the trwedy of the last 

that had hung there when he was a boy I Many veiv« giu 
died. 



».ll 



CHRISTOPHER 



Outside the house the stories were flying. He had tried to 
stKu^le the nurses or his mother. W sSd toe n,W 
some said his mother. He had bitten thro^ W^o JS 
wachmhis paroxysms. He had knocked ouTtheTeeroff 
of ti^ grooms who had been fetched in from the stables ?o 

™^^A H^^K^^^^u* ^°^ ^- H« ^ been to^d^S 
STor^hafii'ir'^ them like Samson. That sort of tS 
Aa for what he had seen ! Bottle imps, pmk rats de^ 

anakes too. TTie old fly-blown, thumb-marked quota of 

^Z ^;I.*"P^'°^Pinkperhaps,likethrratrThe? 
did not even let hmi off those. He was spared nothing ind«d 
m the winged stories. All that imagiiation S^toS 
or mvenbon mvent, was cr^lited toSte horrorof^^d 
horrible enough m aU conscience. Gibberings, scr««Si^ 
cui^ tears he was given aU these, withwri^^^J 
martaailate funes. And to drink they gave him Sy S 
brandy and agam brandy, to inflame him and the^^o^ 
unaginaUons His cmmingnesses and his d^rn^ a^ 
£ ^^fons ! Drink could not be kept f.om^."K 
^ .S^'l ""J** *^ *^*^ their backs :.. I Moreover 
he p-,rfuced bottles miraculously from mider the bedS^« ' 
So the stones flew outside the house. The delirium ,rf a 

^\S£^rr' ^"^ ""^ --^ '^^-^ ^^ 

m^^*2^' He »t least had done With it all. Poor 
moU,« of Stq>hen, who had not, and who knew-Tt iad^ 
^L ' f^-J'o^ tongues wagged and would^ I 
to «..,*! ^^"^ as usual ; she and ChristopheTopposite 
to each other at a Uttle table in the big dininj-r^m ^ut 

^^IZ^^^^T; "*« the kitchen clearly. 
h^liiZ.n^u'^^Z^ °°* **°P to smoke, but 
t2^ rf St^h*^^*^*' *° •"* sitting-room. She did not 
Si tot^ °°*'..°i:' f'*^"*' ^e «li«l not talk of C 
omctly , but her mmd, he knew. wa. occupied with her d«S 



!:tJ 

•i! 



CHRISTOPHER 



«M She talked mostly to Christopher of his mother who. 

*" " rmatSfmarriage between her and your ^^^r 
Ae ilud-iirelevantly, it might have appeared to Christopher. 
"She would never have married hun but for me. 
SSher may have thought that he m«le that 

"'^a if 1 hadn't talked to her. She was always timid. 

T^M not quite truel Mrs. St. Jemison had failed John 
h2S Slfo^ John Hemming «>'f * "tS^S" 
moT^Christopher did not know all tiie farts, but if he 
STSuwn theii. would not have dreamt of se^ ^e 
S^Mker right. He was astray for a mranent or *^o. ^d 
S^w^ drift of the old woman's thoughts. She 
?M «ytog^ that there had been no one to save 
Stephen. 

what vou want. There's notiiing to be done t««u«ht. The 
tZZ^^t went to tiie papers tins mj™^- J^^°™* 
Swe'U be letters to write, people to see. tilings to sctfle. ana 
you'll help me." 
Christopher lit a second «^f; .. ^ ^ 

•• non't think vou ve got to. sne saia. luuug r r 
hate^^ii Tt's'natr^ Yes. I'm going in to see him. to 
sav «ood night to him.' ., 



CHRISTOPHER ,47 

room adjobiiig. The waits were a dim memory to him now, 
bat still a memory. 

" It used to be his," she said, " in the old days. He liked 
big rooms. Your father was content with something smaller. 
Stephen loved his ease." 

There was nothing about it to suggest death— none of 
death's tnqjpings. Nothing even to tell of what had gone 
before death. All that could suggest iUness had been cleared 
away. Wonderful rooms that keep their secrets 1 Wonderful, 
and beautiful, and horrible, the secrets of the old rooms, the 
secrets of the old houses I Christopher, with a momentary 
shudder, remembered a night when he had seemed to know 
everything that could be happening m London; a night 
made up of " open moments." W^t such open moments 
would not have revealed here I 

His grandmother saw him shudder. 

" Nothing dreadful," she said again, and smiled. 

" I know," Christopher said. 

She drew down the sheet which outlined the fisure in the 
bed. 

No, there was nothing dreadful. The eyes which a few 
hours back, red-rimmed, had blazed and stared and started, 
ck>sed now, were as the eyes of one very gently sleeping, and 
the features, distressed and diz*-rted so lately, were cahn. 
Nothing dreadful. Someth'::ig very tender in the aspect 
of the resting figure, much of beauty in the worn face. 

The old woman and the yoimg man, their candles held high, 
stood beside the bed. 

"It was rest he wanted— rest from himself. He was 
for ever driven, hunted. He gave himself no peace. It was 
as if something insatiable was inside him. They talk of the 
worm that never dies and the fire that can't be quenched. 
Ask such as my unhappy son there, which side of the grave 
those are found. Ask anyone who lives the life of the flesh. 
He was tormented from within. They all are. It's the smoke 
of that sort of torment that goes up. God pity us all, Chris- 
topher. God pty us aU." 

^« wasn't crying now. If anyone was crying it was 
Christopher— fM someone he had never known. He heaid 



i 






'•i\ 



CHRISTOPHER 



Mmadi «viiw " Amen to that " rather hmkUy. It wai not 
SSSiSSghewouldhave«id.ar«mldh.ve««i.atany 
other time, but he WM quite smcewM he MM it. 

" You mustn't think I'm unhappy *bo«t him ""*. Some- 
how. Tme time or other, it will be afl "«", ev« to Stq^en^ 
T Hnn-t know how but I do Icuow that. I'm not thinking oJ 
hii as SSt^e door ol any heaven WhatwouWhe 
STin suXTriace-he with the smell of thU worW on torn ? 
KSfhe must know now that console. m*-.f I can sp^ 
S cation : the rottem«ss at the «»« of everyttang tha 
he^u«S^for. Could 1 suppose he hadn't leamt that ? I 

SU^J^^forhim. ^^,r^^'i^t?S 
S my own mind about that. We blame the ^^f^'^ 
ZLJr^ dse but we are our own makers, as surely as 
S?rUo?darw:didn't,3ktobebom? rmconvm«^ 
tJlt we did-damoured.to take shape, took shape, maybe, 
STfoTl The old know. You'll know. Christopher, when 
you're as old as I am." 

She stooped and kissed the deaa face. . , ^ , . 

E^gh^ turned away. When he looked back she was 
diawine up the sheet to its place. 

'Sfwe'll leave him to hU sleeping. It was sleep that 
hi- needed. Hell sleep to-night without dreams. 

Christopher went down to the Ubrary. from th*J«P*^ 
whWh-^ was it from the depths of the great drawing-room 
ro«emony?-the footman ventriloq«st M once caUrf 
up ^Se voices. A friendly room The walb were hnrf 
^th^cs which no one read, but the meUow brown ofold 
Wndings which was long since the mellow eotour of the nm 
itsdfTgave him welcome. A leather screen sheltered warn- 
^ SL the fire from unlikely draughts. «nd f^tf^ to 
to the hearth. The orrery standing near one of the heavdy 
curtained windows, the pair of glob« near another, tt« 
wheeled ladder, the busts Q^^ uesar, N«t>. «>d Dr 
Johnson) all greeted him. He was young, and the yoimg 
«vX as Ita. Herrick had said, from thou^ ofdeath^ 
Under the speB of the cheerful rotan be recovered from the 
gloom which had been creeping over him. 



CHRISTOPHER ,49 

Soothed by cheerful influences, lulled, "comforted" in 
every material sense— comforted as " with apples," he read 
for an hour, put out the lampe, and went upstairs. He was 
pleasantly sleepy now. 

Passing the death-chamber, however, on his way to his 
room, he thought he heard a sound and turned back. He 
listened for a moment or two, and then, opening the door 
very gently, he looked in. 

A candle stood upon a table, and by the dim light of it he 
saw the figure of his grandmother kneeling by the bed. 
He withdrew himself at once, closing the door as noiselessly 
as he had opened it. But at Christ's " Could ye not watch 
with me one hour ? " the disdples in Gethsemane may have 
fdt as he felt at that moment. He went on to his room, 
which was near-by, and did not begin td undress tiU a soft 
sound or two in the sUent house told him at length that the 
dauntless but stricken old woman had gone to hers. He lay 
awake then, thinking of his grandmother, and of the motion- 
l«s form under the sheet. But in the morning he woke 
thinking of Cora, who— though he must not think it yet— was 
nearer to him, most surely nearer to him now, than she had 
been. 



\ 



CHAPTER X 

HIS grandmother .ent for hta. '^\^^.^'l^^ 
ThVfew relatioM there were to gather had gathered 
ine lew iwu . rt-o^h he was not a 

^S^rh^^ttSeS trl^ -"^e alao. There 
;^re;i%'his mother who w«^ r w'a,°"go£ 
LSTat'^eiKe^StJ^r^'^woI ""^ 



Ss grandmother observed, he hoped, that he did not say 
^"Su-n think of your work as your Works before youve 

SrHnr^^iioW^iS rji^touK 

YS^',irsd^thwmmakeaconsiderabledifieren«toyo«. 

::?^:SSf^'l had thought a do««tim« o. 
maWM you my heir in his Weti^'^P'^lPK.Ti, T J 

£t I A as I like. They've seen my V^^^- ^, 
!-« tMwhat was plain enough for everyone to see . that 
r^'fS onJoulor' all yo^T^reamings and poes.es and 

"rSTbe'so hard on me, Grandmother Herrick" : mt«; 
^LSb^S^tSSr "H^itani'm-t^b^jd^^^^^ 

" Every bit, and be damned to you. my dear . coun 
intertolation by Christopher's grwdmother.) 



CHRISTOPHER ,3, 

"— yoor dUEermtneiMS from all tiutt I've been accut- 
tomed to. You «r« different— I see it, ii I don't nndentand 
It— of the itufi that dreamen are made of. But you're a 
healthy young animal too lomehow, and you're a Herrick 
to look at, upstanding and clean-limbed and well-grown 
and good enough to see ; and I've loved you from the day 
you showed me you weren't afraid of me." 

" W'ff." said Christopher. He, if his grandmother was 
not, was a little out of breath. He stood before her smiling 
his colour heightened. He put the backs of his hands to 
his hot cheeks, and waited for her to pitjceed or to finish. 

She looked at hun, well pleased. There wa., nothing self- 
conscious in his action or bearing or attitude. He was 
embarrassed— «he wished to embarrass him !— but was stand- 
ing what was ahnost a test. He did not flinch under her 
onslaught. 

"Men ought to be fighters," she said; "doers, not 
dreamers." 

Christopher thought men might do something with dreams. 
He did not say so. He just waited. 

" You are ' different,' " she said, insisting as an inquisitor 
m^t insist. "Aren't you? Answer me." 

I've never written a line of poetry in my life," he said. 
" But things are wonderful. Wonderful, if you see them." 

" And you can see them — ^think you can, anyway ? " 

" They are wonderful," he said ; " ahnost everything is." 

She had to leave it at that ; left teasing him, and went 
back to what she had been saying. 

Where was I ? Oh yes. Thought of passing him over. 
Goodness knows he provoked me. But somehow I never did. 
Probably because he dared to provoke me. So, though 
yon weren't before, you're next now for Herrickswood." 

Christopher's heart, with Cora in it, gave a jump. She 
ws nearer. He had " known," of course, in a sense ; but 
this putting into words seemed to crystallise into the solidity 
of fact what had been at most a conjecture, and one which 
M couU hardly allow himself to form. He did not want 
Hernckswood, did not covet it or its rent-roll, or actually 
anythmg at aB that he had not but he could not hear what 



Hill 



1^ 



,j, CHRISTOPHER 

U. grwtoother h«l j«t told •"J-J^^"?;^ S?£"** 
eni^t -n-cotoof came mow (toeplytatohU face. 

hTwouU iW Cor. nw. he kiiew-wM to tod her. PW- 
hap. towoaH not even have to .eek her. He wouU get 
news of her by mirack U no oOer way. 

" Thank you. Grandmother." 

" Wait till I'm dead to do that." 

Christopher hoped the would have to wait lor her thanks 

•m'S^ you there." *e -id. "or 1 Wouldn't have 

*"shr£«ed him. and he left her. Her Uwyen. who were 
wi to heTipent the rert of the day with h«:. Two 
SrwUteTwhek tte will which was drafted then had duly 
fi SSSJilnTaiid ..igned. Ae nK>ke of the matter .gam. 

This time it was to Christopher's mot^. 

" I don't want any mystery about it. I shall teU people. 
I don't want them talking and wondering, gauging <^^. 
ii this one and that, and making surmises. I dont 
J^Tdistont relations and people who've no claim upon 
T a^^ whom I've no claim, paying «>»rt to me. I 
Z^t^ be known. Am-, that Fve "««»• ChrtetoF*« 
SSvhdr This is hto home now as often as he like, to conw 
S it The Wants will take order, from Wm when he s 
^ as daWof the house. He can have his own rooms 
beie as "^ » ~" " . ,j,^ j^e oftener it u Come the 
S^r-IS^be^^^en U^G^though I shall U 
SfeniS^I hoSTTto «.y s<v-I Aall always be sony^ 
^You're too good to him," «dd Anne, but she drf not 
think wreS.^e was only taking the «^ m to 
E Z^ sensibly-with a sigh, aU fte same, for 

^V^ h^ that sigh of hers «,metim« ; no one else 
^J^nTso much to Wm, when aU's said, asto myself, 
said Chrtetopher's grandmother. "He's a good boy, or. 
7L S he's a A attractive «- ^^ yo«j^«PP^ 
should have forgiven anyone dse his tode? » „ . ,ii^ 
n«ams when I meant him for a soKto. An art^^ 
SonTS^callit? when he was to have been a man. Not 



CHRISTOPHER 153 

that he in't that too. He't ttioiig enough, end nratcolar 
eiKNii^ I grwit you. Male enough, I allow. A male without 
Uenkh, I've no doubt you think him. But writeti, * aitirti/ 
•een I I had my mitgivings, 1 remember, when be was a 
boy. Yon lat there and crocheted where yov're sitting now 
with your knitting. And I warned you." 

Anne pulled gently at her wool; unwound a yard or 
two to go mi with Irom the ball which lay at her feet. Sh. 
was knitting stockings for Christopher's stepfather-or tot 
Christopher ; she was not quite sure which. Their legs \.\ t 
about the same length. 

" He seems to be getting on," she said. " They're t.k\<y' 
his things. They write to Wm for them. Someone iol.' 
John the other day that his work is well thought of. i (or- 
get who, but someone who knows about these things, fohn 
thinks he'll do something. He says he's clever." 

"Of course he's clever," snapped Christopher's grani.'- 
mother. " Isn't that what's the matter with him ? Isn t 
that what I'm deploring ? " 

She whipped up an argument, set poor Anne defending 
her son ; finished by laughing at her. 

" Do yon think I'm not proud of him, Anne Hemming ? 
Do you think I'm not as proud of him as you are this 
minute ? " 

She got up and went over to a writing-table, where she 
opened a drawer. 

" Come here." 

Anne put down her woik and went over to her, wondering 
what she should see. 

Half a dozen magazines lay before her. Anne knew them 
weu enough. Christopher's name figuiwl in the table oi the 
contents of each of them. 

"Do you think I'm not watching ? I dare say I haven't 
ail ttat hes written. These are what I've managed to 
get bold of I've read them, too, these contributions of 
His. though I'm not a reader, as I needn't teU you. I don't 
understand aU of them, and I don't suppose I'm much of a 
judge If I did; but I'll say this: even I can see that the 
boy sdomg what he had to do. I've been raUying him on 



t! 



•Ml 



,54 CHRISTOPHER 

«rt haiut like the menldnd I'm used to-on being what I 
S S«S .' He i. difie«nt. Very wdl^ the,, do you 
rnLwe in my heart, I'd have him different from difierent ? 
•"^'Sd nling ior a moment H« «yes were ^. 
She, like Christopher before her, fdt a ^ttte out of te^th. 

" You're-you're " she began, and got no ft««>e^ 

■• A wicked old woman to have made gamerf you ? You r^ 
to easy to make game of , the pair of you. ,^There^«e won t 
te M very much for him to come into (the Hernck men- 
S:trK Mcourse-but the rest of the ^w, the p^ous 
stamp I've been accustomed to, saw to that !) . stiums 
f^^, such as it is, is assured him, an^he can foUow a^o 
tade with a light heart. There's a book on the stocks, I 
3LS. MTgrandsonwhomonlyy^erday^Hap^ 

to me, I saw sucking his thumb-whom I 8»^ P«° f *° 
for holding his tongue, .if he could, ^^L^^^w^S^s^lhat 
book, aj^u please. A novel, I suppose. We U see what 

'"■^liSi'wickedoldwoman,"saidChristopher'smother. 

He didn't make much of it; was not ready for it, 
™SLps : or hLi set himself more than he «>'dd a«A.ev 
??e to; came when the precious book was finked Th 
time came, even, when, after many disappointments, the 
SoTvolume f^und a pubUsher. But tiie.^. to ^ "1*!"^ 
STpurposes, the matter ended. ^The blank walb he h^ 
come up^^t had been too much for hmi? He had never 
^ tt^ all? Never seen over them or made gai« 
S^em^e enough to see through to the ottter side ? 
mo shall^y ? The thing halted ; was like a bilhard baU 
Sgm fte right diiection but without " legs " enough 
tolSfil fte puTer's intention. Yet the book wasnt b^ 
-noTa book" aiyway, to be ashamed of. A review or t^ 
taS the troubirto see what the author amirf at P-^ 
iT^aimhiatingly. The rest, praismg faintly, <toined « 
4^S^It list feU flat; may have deserved to faM 
flarAnd'so in this the fast round, Christopher, upon whom 
taoth^wa^lrtune was smiUng so pleasantiy. saw hunsell 
Imocked out rather badly. 



CHAPTER XI 

IT was late autumn when his uncle died, winter when 
his book came out and died too, spring when one morn- 
ing m Sloane Street Christopher came face to face with Cora 
St. Jemison. 

It might have been expected that in the two years in 
which he had not seen her, her hold upon him, whatever its 
nature, would have slackened. He had only seen her three 
tmjes, aU toM ; had exchanged words with her but upon 
one o< them; could hardly be said to know her ; it needed 
but the sight of her coming towards him in her white dress 
to set him trembling. 

The miracle of the foggy morning was repeated. She was 
some thirty yards from him, when, under his startled eyes, 
she turned as before from an unknown figure— just a giri 
at whom he chanced to be looking (Girl in a Street now for 
Gui in a Room)-into the girl of aU grls to the world, the 
white lady of his dreams wakmg and sleeping. He held his 
breatt as they approached each other. Would she see 
tatai Would she remember him ? Would she know him ? 

^ ^w him. His concentration alone would have en- 
sm*d ttat. and currents must have been playing upon her 
from his eyes as from a battery. Impossible, if you were 
even cwnparatively sensitive tc influences, to have passed 
anything so " electric " as was ChristofAer at that moment 
without becoming aware of its presence and activity. Oh 
yM;^e»whim. Did she remember ? He beUeved she 
remembered. Was she going to recognise him ? 

He could not let her escape him. 

He stopped her. 

w>,l?^r ^K\ '^n'^nber «ne," he said, wondering vaguely 

what he shouU say next, how if she did not he shoSd j^tify 

«* action. His thoughts, jumping the dinner-party, went 

Hi 



•i I 



H 



I I 



h6 



CHRISTOPHER 



back to Victoria Station. It wa« there rather thui in May- 
fair that they had really met. 

She shook her head. 

" Ah, you don't I " he said. 

" On tiie contrary, I do. You took me down to dinner 
at Mrs. Constaple's. Someone-someone else-was to have 
taken me down. I remember quite weU, y<« *«'■*»"' 
name's Herrick, and you're not a descendant el the 

poet." 
" Did I teU you all that ? ' 
" Not tiU I asked you. It was my name you wanted to 

"""^ That's more than two yeiirs ago. I could hardly have 
hoped you'd remember." 

^Oh'fnion't know," she said. " 1 remember things that 
happened longer ago than that." 

He looked at her slowly. 

" I wonder if you do," he said. 

He could not tell from her face. 

what he wondered whether hers 

now to a halt. There was a moment when it seemed as li 
Srwould find nothing more to say. If neither spoke, they 
would have to separate, go then: several ways ; and London 
would swallow her up. . . 

" I've so often wondered about you," he said, rather 
desperately. "Wondered where you were I meai -he 
^S under the dominfon of a word I-" and whether 1 
should ever see you again." . _ 

It was she MW who looked at him questioning^. But 
she did not look surprised as she "wejit '^f^L^^^l.ndv 
as if she resented what might-if it had been diffeienUy 
said-have seemed an impertinence. It was not an un- 

^*^M alone. The day had come when girls were be- 
rinninK to be aUowed to go about alone in the morning, 
fr^lSig at her, Christopher felt that her beauty w^ 
rf a aS which must subject it and her to attention of a 
S.^^^ whoUy desirabte. She shouW. he felt, have M 



What was in his mind, 
held also, brought him 



CHRISTOPHER 



derfnl whiteness of her skin ? In the ™Hn«f „7 u .* ," 

thongit her. Her beauty tronbled him. ™^ "e Had 

" w^^' r^ ^^ ^ ^"^ ^'J'en I n»et you," she said 
b«S^'nW°"n"''"- **y father parted with it I haS 
been m London for some time. I don't suppose I've «^* 
a month m London in the last couple of y^'^ ^ ^^ ''*"* 

_ You've been abroad ? " 
1 ''^*''* 8«neraJly abroad somewhere. We've <iii«if tt^ 
l^:.^'''^\^t^y- WehaveavillanSpa,:ro.'*^ 

"Y^^d^V^i"''"^2f- Again a halt thre^ed. 
YOU didn t mmd my speaking to you ? " 

latety.'- '*™« ^"^ "»"« lately-^uite oft^S 

'M'l^jf^'' she was going to speak of his book. 
t,lrii '^^ '"*'* "*"• Constaple. She's by wav of 

^5»8me out. as my fatter can't be Uered to gotoTw^ 

sh™ ■ ^- "«^<* s yoir grandmother, isn't 

ChAtojAer's face brightened. 

my SSW"* ft tas'ttrCTbe "" "^-^^^ •««- 
■"^^^ ' -:i° ^aSKthlSer^yT'^' ^ 

H!7i7*^K""°°°'^'" «" Christ^her. 

he bell^*^*^ *S^ ^^* »ot want to," was what 
^ rwi ™ saw. He fanaed also that it was not wholly 



d 



a58 



CHRISTOPHER 



Sheipoke, 



the noise ol the v«i which ptevwted hi. haling 

he thought, under her breath.^^^ friends" he hewd 
" My grandmother never targets her xnenm. 

'^.'^^a child." .he «ud.«nili«g. " It's years^jo- 

■"i^^l'lnrd " Child " something stirred in Christopher's 
At the word cmia ^^~~^g^^^ _f ^ strange even- 
,^. Heh«iamoment«yn«^^tion^^ 

fag in which hfa «"*«,^,i^^*S^er, TriiLer 
^anntsalso.Uura«idCa^^dea^ ^^^^^ 

fa her best dress "^ beh«ing^. '^'^^^^ ^^ 
«^^^*^ WM^'mt ^1^^ ^ Child' ^""^ 

win have the Custody ol ^^jj^^f^'s esstence. 
with the moment when l^^^J^^J^ teiSen. had not 

So Mr. St. Jemi*Bn. '^^^'^ tSt^to ^^'^' 
died-Christopher »^^ ^r^J?l*K^«ghter. 
about ^^-r^^tS^S^ iSn^dlt to see. 

Samec«e e>*J«''^^* ^' J^^TwWdi suddenly 

SSThiT^asr^t ^£^l^S'^Z. 

•ircfui^irieep her st-Kllng on the pavement «y 

-■■ he 



•""JfLy iwalkwithyoutotheendofthe street?' 
He tiionc^t she heaiUted. 

ghe was, beta*. J''*" ™Jr^5rL„ beean to walk up the 
thMi her he«i. *« rf **^ J^It^^top of it he knew 
street. There was not far to go. At tne wp " 

he must leave her. 



CHRISTOPHER 



359 

^.^S^^JI^tZ:^ to hin,. Her smile met 

hwwliit^r" "T"**^ *^'^ J»»t naw-thing, that 
•^Wened tonger ago than two years." ^^^ 

We all do, Mrely." 

„,H°°- '^ i"** *P««kiiig generally, then ? You had 
nottMg m mind-no particular incident " 5f«>u had 

What sort of incident ? " 

other side of the raaA—J^u looked from it to the 

" Yes," she said. Her voice was quite steadv " t h-j 
seen you before " ^ steady. i Jiad 

">Wiere?" ' 

eve^Sf ^hl!?° ^"J^ ^'^ an idea to see the strangeness 
even the possible unfanness, of what he asked t^^TT 

^^^ Sr Wr > *r '^'^ upon hertSiers'^ ^ 
wL a foi'Sts:!^^ C ^, question. AgainS 

was ableToS^^S L^^T"!* °* *"•*"■" ** 
steadfly. ^*' ^«**° ^e answered him 

you!<XiT™''?*"^l^"°"- I passed near you. and 
Ta S^i'°*nir' *^*^, "y ^»«»er. You we« tail^ 
You ^'t^ w * '^^y.^ *^* ^'"^ '•ear yo^ 
as I ipd y^' ''"* ^°" ^^-^ *° «y «>-»^ to me 

Christopher swallowed dryly 
pJr^yf-"^^^ No, I didn't speak. What did I ap- 

But she shook her head 



li 



1 



i j 



CHRISTOPHER 



IWtMMkfalC 



aa if yon ad know me, ♦nd recog a i ifd me, Md 
me ii yoa weren't right in tW«*iiig io." 

Chrirtopher tnmed romid and »***«•.. , . , ^, . 

"That's jost what was happentaf. I thouj^t. a»d I tttak. 

that I did recognise you." 
It was she now who faced hira. ^^ 
" But you'd never seen me before," she laid. 
He was silent. 

" But had you ? " she asked him. 
He looked at her without speaking. 
"IWyou? " she persisted. And he had to anwer of 

coarse that he had not. „«__ 

" Then ? " Her ge«ture completed her question. 

They had reached the top of the street There was a hWe 
crowd about the spot where the ommbnses stop. People 
"Zg each other j^ed them, as one of tt««i tumrf lie 
S^of Knightsbridge. Before it had putted ^ a <*^te 
of human beings was hanging on to tte tail of it, hte a 
iojping duster of swarming bees. A h»rn™>r«om«« «^* 
SeiTpulUng at her skirts reminded Chnstophw of the 
pnJled and pulling women, mothers, aunts, guardians, at 

^^-WttS'you here," he said.. "When C.JS. you 
again ? You'U let me see you agam ? I— 1 must see you 

"Tiiaa a hazardous word to use, as haiardo« nearly as 
the "Itoost must " of a few minutes before. But she had 
^ sbo^ any surprise at that, and she showed none now. 
TiSl^ f^te wanton torment that themipon the 
» must needs come to him that she was used to befflg 

to in this way, acaistomed to hearing peoPj* "^ 
( MV that they must see her again, and experted no 

He couU have wished the word unsaid. He was 
I of he knew not whom— of everyone who saw her, ne 



" M«. ' Omstarfe is at home on Sundays," she said. 
"Sb^ be very glad to see you. WiU you come next 

^'j^'L- a^nned of himself in a moment, and relieved 



CHRISTOPHER ^ 

^^Wyl... What then did he want? Let hta be 

Jt^ -epaiated. He watched her till he lost her in the 

AiStfTT* ^i^htsbridge and ttiaed into the park at 
Albert Gate. He made, not for the Row. where vSZ 1 

A few people were waUdne beade thf «,=♦«, a u . 

^tt^t^'£ - Chil^th nSi^attS: 
manydoS^ *'""'' °* ^^'^ •'"'^ °* 

He had TOMon h^f Th "n 'incomprehending stare. 

-r-'^s^ke^oVm"" '^"^ "''™ ''^ '^'^ ^h''* 
^^ Yes ? " he said. 

" "*** *^ you tell me the right time ? " 



■IK I 



i! 



I 



CHRISTOPHER 



a63 

" Oh. 1 don't know tt." he nOd n»e«kto« «^.,J~T^ 

h« been nmsed out oJ ri^p ■»* J'^'T? J** l^tolS 
But he did know it, or had only to look •* ^to wat^ totaow 
It. He diew his watch from hto pocket ateiort as he ^. 

"Said -e didn't know, and 'fan with a goM watch and 
chainTWooi^therin'. Know what 'e is? 'E's a wool- 
gatherer." 

Inwardly he was widely awake. H v 3 Jjytogagata 
throngh L faiddent of the recent ^ '^■^^^^ 
Xthad been said and what had not 1 een said : ««^^> 
now that he had found it possible to say so much. What- 
TrCoutcome of the d«n« encount«-if «t w« «hance^ 
if chance could be s«ppo.«l to have anytog to do wift a 
Sang which seemed as if H must have be«i <»damed s^ 
Sebeginning of time I-their knowledge of eadi othw had 
Kt^T^e notable strides. Neither had b«« «^«» ; 
^^on had been made for '«l»»r°^u;iT^«^s 
^Zm not have perceived what lay behind h«q«8b^s. 
His heart leapt. Tlwt she shoukJ have r^iembered ! Nay. 
that she should have guessed at hte unspoken U rt y<^ 
«Kl even have supposed herself in some sort to be making 
^er to it^to wh^er it was that he -s^jdang heH 
H«c was the marvel of all, here the real miracle. Here 

^wTprSf ^y. " p««« :^^r^j^f 'Sets 

dreaming he had never been astmy for a "wm"*- ™.3„ 
Sww^ own when he should find it, and in ton be known 
^ That had been the sen» and tiie substance of aU 
Ss LSs ! S U was true. He wa. justified now of ms 

^"^^ passed under the bridge ""^ h«i p«»«l at the 
JL sedudrf^d of the lake. wh«e tiie b-k^J ^o^ 
Md the voices of the children reachrf him but f amtly. i 
^ here that he came to himself. IHe *;?* ^^'^^jj^^ 
neroeived was that the sun, shinmg on the water belore 
C*^ turned it from on«unental wat«rm^a I^do 
D«k tato a tting of enchantment. The second, that the 
^* s^^^ in the «r. sweetening it, f temng • 
^1t Seating properties for the s«^ of the lover. 



CHRISTOPHER 



a63 



The third, that leavM were tinfoldiiig, bods opening, bbdi 
rin^ thdr spring eong from every tree and ihrub. Ouis- 
^er, always able to see lovers, in a moment saw lovere. 
»w them, as at Greenwich, under the trees, when he turned 
from the water and made for the broad avenues towards 
Kensington Palace ; saw them walk dose on the paths or 
wandtt side by side up<m the grass. Once more-as on 
^ tadeed of the times that he had seen hei^the white 
giri had done something to his eyes. He had never, he thought 
»en the Broad Walk look quite as it looked to^y ; no^ 
tte shadows, the wide stretches of peen, the blue vdled 
^stances. No wonder that on so gi Aien a day the glades 
shouM be peojJed with lovers. Again he thought of Watteau, 
Lanaet, Fragonard, the painters of tevers and settings for 
lovers. 

But he wished that he had not seen the looks thrown 
rrpon her by passers-by. and that he could rid himseU of 
the mipresBion that, hurrying, as he believed she had hurried, 
to make up for lost time, she had welcomed the crowd, which, 
Kke a ctoud, had received her out of his sight— 4ad' wished 
it so to laceive and to hide her. 



CHAFTER Xll 

NOW began the fever in eaniest. Christopber. unable 
to work and unable to pUy, ftimined towards Sunday 
as flowers in a dark place towards the Uj^t. He had not 
much hope that the day would bring him any real aatitfaction. 
Mis. Constople's rooms would be full, he supposed, and 
any opportimity for talk with her guest— such intimate 
talk at least as he Jssired— would have to be snatched from 
circumstances which tnuld pot, in the nature of things, be 
expected to offer them freely. But on Sunday he would 
see her, be in the same room with her, hear her voice. How 
to bridge over the gulf from then to Sunday I 

He paced the uneven floors of his rotnns, while his manu- 
script paper lay untouched upon his table, and his ink-bottle 
was silent because there was no one to hear still small voices. 
The wings had dropped from his pen. Pens, ink. paper— 
they were all now the poor things that his grandmother at 
Herrickswood thought them 1 They did not matter any more. 
Nothing mattered but the consuming need that possessed 

him. 

Yet there were times when he took what he was neglecting 
into his confidence, as there were times when he took the 
very walls into his confidence too, the deep window- 
siUs, the old mouldings, the fire-back even, the friendly 

hearth. , . , 

" Wait." he might have been saying to his deserted wntmg- 

table, " Wait. I shall come back to you. 1 shall com? back 

to you with more use for you. for aU this. I've failed you. 

It's I who am failing you. not you me, I know that ; but I 

shall come back to you." 
Yes, his eyes falling on his poor book, his first-bom and 

stiU-bom, rt was he who had failed them. He had come by 

them too easUy ; had not been ready for them ; had done 
»64 



CHRISTOPHER 



a6s 

SStT^*^ *^^«"'' *"1'"*^ But (.gda) let them 

Not in words, of conne, wiy of this : inst 'christonl«, . 

•« pockets and his thmt rather bare, looldn^ at Z«« „n 
. tobta at which he ought to have beTitC^ ^ 

the w?4"Thm** *^' """•''^ •*> "'*^'*P wfadow-«Us 
♦hL K u' '**^ "°* "y *«« •inite difierent. He asked 
«i«nl«w he was to bear it. (TWs. while he wl.lS 

bi^ii to'Si r '• '" "^ "^ "^^"y- -'^ -^^' ^«! 

.»' ]^'" *" **" *'"' ■"'' *•*« mouldings-" you, old as vou 

itoowthat. But you haven't seen her." ' 

He wuM wake in the night to stretch out his arms to her 
Cm ««ne to me. Come to me now. And he would sit up 
fa the darkness to listen for an answer. Cora, can't you"^ 
me ? Can't you ? I shouM hear you if you called If y^ 

Sl^'c^m!"'^*'" '*"' "^ *^' ""'•'^ ^ should heal^:^ 
i^n«. Call me. Say my name. Say it ever so low. lihaU 

m^l^ts^l." t*h ^ u "' '"^' '«"*««*• *•'•' Stealthy 
ST 'tSi, ^ scamperings of mice behind the 
w«n«ot, their gnawmgs; their occasional squeakines 

tanw would be there, sometimes not. He had often heard it 
m h,s nx,n«, or in other parts of the homT u^erlSr^ 

Sd Mstrr *ff^ ^*^ *^« ^""^ Uttle sound, Md 

in»!!Ju ^ ^*^ ^''^ "^^- ^^ booming of Bie Ben at 
■ntervah, and the striking of other clocks n^^d to, to 



i . i 
i' 



MldOCOrV RBOIUTION TtST CHART 

(ANSI and ISO fEST CHART No. 2) 




yiii^i^ 



A APPLIED irvMGE Inc 

^B-^ 1653 East Wain StrMi 

g'.a Rocheitar, Ntw York 14609 USA 

^S <"«) WS - 0100 - Phone 

^S ('16) 288 - 5989 - Fan 



CHRISTOPHER 



266 

the patchAvork oi night-sounds which we the accompani- 
ment to his silent callings. Hresmna- 
Or he would get up, and, sUppmg on a ««t or a ^^^ 

^Wdi was open, and rest his chin on his wnste, and k) 
s av io^eT Or he would open the lower half «id 
dS^g te feet under him. coU himsdf up on «>« f -^"^ 
S himself so to the soothing influences of the mght 

"HetSifte'Se. Sometimes a barge would go by 
ev" i^lt^toL-a moving patch of blackness wrth a 
even ^^^"^ „ ^^ ^ abroad upon some errand. 
^x;^eS^Kwor shake out their long ribands in 
SS The ribands fh,m permanent hghte ^ steadier 
Jr^^ Uddng deeply into the shining obscurity. If 
^wScJSfhenhelLked out. he would see the gulls. . . . 

It was a Monday when he had met Cwa St. J^n 
• IZZ Street He had six nights and five days to get 

rf^« and speech with her ag«n. He «^t' "J ~^' ^ 
"XfS,r3h <»ljr u™ <l»t b. ». b», «d, to "2 



CHRISTOPHER 



367 



ance he held that particular Thursday (and the comer of 
Bruton Street !) haUowed. Discounted the pleasure of Sunday 
to which he was looking so ardently ? Something of that 
sort. Sunday had been appointed. To Sunday then. 

Resently things would change. The posts now were 
beginning to bring him the invitations which at that time 
of year feU to him. as to most of the other young men of 
decent birth and respectable appearance, from— as it seemed 
—the skies. His grandmother, long as it was now smce she 
had gone out or entertained in London, had never lost 
touch with her friends. To her, in the first instance, it may be 
guessed, was the presence of his name on the lists of baU- 
givers ascribable. He welcomed now each car'l as he took 
it from its envelope. At some of the houses to which he 
was bidden, for functions which mostly proclaimed them- 
selves Small or Very Small, he must meet a girl whom Mrs. 
Constaple was taking out. There was Easter to come be- 
fore the season actuaUy began, but that was less than a 
fortnight ofi now, and in a very short time the gaieties would 
be in full swing. Then he might hope to encounter her often. 
Then he might take to haunting the spots where it was to be 
expected that she would be found : the Park in its hours ; 
Ranelagh and Hurlingham in theirs; the opera, the ball- 
rooms. Meanwhile to Sunday. . . . 

Saturday night came. By that time sleep had returned to 
his eyes. He slept through the whole of it. Came Sunday 
morning ; came Sunday afternoon ; came the moment when 
in the wake of the butler he crossed the stone haU, ascended 
the wide, gentle stairs, and was shown into Mrs. Constaple's 
drawing-room. 

Mis. Constaple, rising from her place near a tea-table, 
and gathering up an armful of little dogs from her lap, wel- 
comed him cheerfully. 

Very glad to see you," she said, and pulled at her hus- 
band's sleeve, just as she had pulled at it on the occasion of 
tte dmner-party. " Mr. Herrick, my dear. You remember 
Mr. Hemck. We were talking of your grandmother at lunch, 
so sad about poor Stephen. You were with her. Well, 



a68 



CHRISTOPHER 



Sit 



afterwards, anyway. A great comfort to her, I know, 
down by me here, and let me give you some tea. 

The rooms seemed to be fuU of people— men for the most 
part— the usual Sunday roomful of visitors. Cora St. Jemison 
was not amongst them, Christopher thought for a moment. 
But the next, he had seen her, and seen that she saw hun. 
She was at the far side of the room. She was sitting exactly 
where she had sat when he had been hurried across to her 
to be introduced to her and take her down to dinner. 

Mr. Constaple talked of Mrs. Herrick, and said ahnost 
precisely what he had said before, or repeated what had 
been said to him. Christopher waited for Engages her 
own keepers, they teU me," and it came ; with " Marvellous 1 

to follow. _ ,x • i_ 

"She must be— let me see But we wont go mto 

that." 
He said this too. , ^, ^ u 

Christopher listened to all with as much attention as he 
could contrive. He was acutely conscious of the group at the 
other side of the room. He was not wishing to jom it, but 
hoping that presently it might disperse. He knew, without 
seeing, that Miss St. Jemison, having seen hun, m not 
look again in his direction. He waited now for his hostess 
to speak of her, and she did. 

" Told me she had met you," she said, when the name 
he was waiting for came round at length. " My own girl 
married last year, you know-Geraldine, you remember 

Geraldine ? " . , , ^^ 

Christopher had not heard that her daughter was mamed. 
That then, was how she came to be taking out someone 
else's. He remembered Geraldine, whom he was to have 
taken in to dinner. 
Mrs. Constaple patted her dogs. 

■' Rather dears," she said, " ain't they ? I meant to 
have given myself a rest this year, but, after all, perhaps 
it's just as weU that I can't. No, this one has the best head -- 
we may suppose Christopher to have been saying aU tne 
rieht things—" and look at his sweet Uttle nose. Did yoa 
ever see anything so appeaUng ? What was I telling you? 



Sit 



CHRISTOPHER ^ 

^^\ t^ T'i K°*J ^^ *^ *° 80 to things, and I dare say 

you know, and worn tea-gowns and lost my figure Yes 
my angels, you shaU have your biscuits" ' 

It was the dogs after that for five minutes 
Besides," she said then, as if there had been no inter- 
mption, " I was sony for her." 

Christopher winced, 
if vi"^ ^d«-thafs enough, preciouses ; not any more- 
iZ^J^^^ "'T^ *''^ Soing to do me cr^t. and 

tha?£*tt'' "^""^ " «'""*=* •" '"'' '^'=«°"' f«^ed 
fi,^*"*!,*''! ""T^"* *=*"«• **"• Constaple, having decided 

swiir^f °"' "°'U° ^''^ "'S^l ^ -^ t''^ '^t head and tte 

w^^?* - ^ ^^ '* "• *" *" "^*^t three litl^ angels 
were at each other's sw ,ttle throats, and heU (" to s^ "1 

Sf S^? *"' '"'^;'"«- When the tumult the S J 
l^h ^'^'** ^'^fWe, was over, and the commotion, 
which was whoUy disproportionate, had subsided and 

o^ tte S-^LT T *"" *^ "«••' *«''*«"' «•« '"^^hutioJ 

^?n,r^ ..** ■?*"" **" 'Changed, as the groupings 

ChrS^r "" ^*°«"^ ** *«> *"^»^ 0* '^ kaleldos^lS 
Christopher was then to be found sitting by Cora St TemisM 
whose lap held one of the little anim^, u'^on a dfetSa! 
2e™l"lTK'^'' ^.*"»' "^ «"™'' hut, with a glow f^ 

1 ^J^ ^Vf- •"= ^"^ ^''*- « *« had not hel^ hii^ 
she must at least have acquiesced in his endeavour 

he s^r"* *° ^° ''** *° '^''** ^^ '^'"* *'^"« °^ °° Monday." 

Alf^r^1.'^K*T!?'"^y "j^PPy ^ he sat down beside her. 
M that he had thought of and dreamed of seemed as if it 
must be coming true. She did not answer him at once 
go on."*'''"* **°* *° 80 back," she said, then. " I want to 
" Oh. I want to go on," Christopher said, " That's why 



m 



H . 



CHRISTOPHER 



370 

I want to go back-that we may go straight on from where 

we were then." 

"Where were we then ? " 

" At Victoria Station." .^ th. 

She was wearing a black dress, which emphasised the 
exquLtrfair^of her skin. Her hands the beautrhd 
hands which he had noticed before, lay in her Up beside the 

little dog. 

" Well ?" she said gently. 

" I'm— I'm waiting for leave to go on. 

They were ahnost isolated where they were A graad 
piano, cumbered with ornaments, drapery, P?«>t°P»P^ 
flowe^the piano of a thousand unmusical drawmg-roomsr- 
S^mCm the others. -n.e backs of the i«mes which 
SSe photographs were towards them He ^^-^ 
what the photographs themselves would be: two or three 
signed likenesses of minor royalties ; a celebrity «^ so » 
Ser, perhaps, who had sung at Mrs. Cons'.apU s concerts , 
Sdine in her drawing-room dress ; her mother m hei^ , 
an "enlargeneut" on porcelain in colour-probably Mr. 

Constaple's mother. ii,i„w„, 

Und« what he wa. saying, under what he was thintang^ 
Christopher, gratefu. for the screen which th^ £^^ 
afiorded him, was conscious of feebng that, none.heless^ 
ttS^ould all have been cleared away. In imagmation 
he saw the piano standing free, ,_. v j. «n thf 

And all ttie time he saw the lovely quiet hands on the 
blaS dress, and felt the smart which their lovehness caused 
him. He wanted to hide his face in them. 

" Vnn Han't sav anvthinK," he said at last. 

••iTyTlZ^^^ <l^'^y- "B«t I don't "enow 
quite wh-t to say-what you expect me or want me to say. 
f think I have 4id a good deal. I did the ?ther <Uy^ J 

I haven't told you to ^V .^^\^ ^ ^^^ Tfl^l E 
toU you not to. Perhaps it would be better if I did tell yo« 

not to." 
" No," he said ; " don't do that." .„„„„•* he a 

"Then, of course. I want to know. I shouldnt be» 

woman if I didn't want to know, for instance, what y<« 



CHRISTOPHER 371 

meant the other day when you said, * That's just what was 
happening.' Do you remember saying that ? How couU 
yon recogn me if you had never seen me before ? " 

'■ I thir have been looking for you most of my life." 

"^ But you told me you hadn't seen me till that day ! " 

" Looking for someone, then." 

She shook her head in token that she did not understand 
How should she? He did not understand, himself. But 
he knew that what he was telling her was true. 

" But me ? " she asked. 

" You— if it turned out to be you." 

She looked at him contemplatively. He was leaning 
forward, his hands clasped round one knee, his eyes on her 
face. He had himself well in control. 

.. D *'*'■ ^''" ^'"*' '"^ ^ ^°'''* understand," she said then. 
But I want to, ' she added a moment later. " I'm trying to 
I even think I could." 

" I'm sure you could," said Christopher. " Understanding 
comes into it. I've been looking for someone whom— weU 
whom I should know when I met— whom I should recognise 
as the person I was looking for." 

It must have sounded all rather involved— an argument 
ndeed in a drcle. He did not even make grammar of it. 
" That was to be the sign— your knowing ? " 
He did not answer her in words. He looked at her steadily. 
' And you thought you recognised this person in me ? " 
I did recognise this person in you." 
He said that so low that she haidly heard it, but she did 
hear it. Neither said anything then for a moment or two. 
thnstopher did not shift his position. She did not even move 
her hands. He wondered what she would think if she knew 
now the sig^t of them affected him. 

Before I met you I was looking for you, and since— I've 
done nothing else. Where were you going that day when 
1 saw you starting for somewhere from Victoria ? " 

" Marienbad, probably. We generaUy go there at that 
tune of year. No. I remember. We went to Wiesbaden that 
suimner." 

" I went there I " said Christopher. 



aja CHRISTOPHER 

So thev talked. Outride were the Constaples and their 
vbitora. A door was opened, and new-comers were an- 
nounced and came in. But they settled down. Someone 
got up to go. But even he went. No one had come ov« yet 
to disturb the two sheltered by the photographs and the piano. 
Such luck could not last. Presently someone would get up 
who would want to bid Miss St. Jemison good-bye. (^some- 
one who wanted to talk to her would intrude himaeli upon 
them. So far she herself had shown no incUnation to move. 

" Then you did know about Wiesbaden ? " 

" No. That's just it. I went to heaps of places. I dldn t 
know where to begin. Think." He smiled gravely. The 
whole of Europe was before me to choose from— the whole 
world, for that matter. But there were likely places. Hot- 
burg seemed one of them. Wiesbaden another. I tried 
Trouville too. . „ . 

" Do you really mean," she said, "that you really went 

" Christopher thought of the long-suffering Harringay as 

*But now came the interruption. Mrs. Constaple was seen 
bearing down on them. She wanted her third Uttte ange 
to show to Lady Somebody, in tow, who had httle angels of 
her own ; and Christopher (in parenthesis) was introduced 
to Lady Somebody, who remembered (also m parenthesis) 
that she had known his father and mother in India, and for 
five minutes all was dogs and India. By the time Christopher, 
who was given the angel with the second-best head to hold, 
had disentangled himself, someone else had taken his place 

on the sofa. , , , .^__ 

He waited for a minute or two on the chance of getting 
back to it, but in vain. What he had looked forward to so 
fervently all the week was over. 

He went to say good-bye to Mrs. Constaple. 

One solace was vouchsafed him. 

"You must dine with us one night and do a play. 

Her^husband reminded her that she was dining out oo 
Tuesday. 



CHRISTOPHER 



'73 

your address ? Ctafato; St,!^' i," Z!?*** *° y°"' ""^e I 
111 puVkdowB " "^' Westminster, number three. 

of kavtag a ZiTShlt'^ """^ ^'^' ^' precaution 
he oouUhaveWhTtSd^Ji ."^"L""*- ^"* •»« ^«i 

tea-time anJ-otW C^"^,*^'' T^ ^"^y »"«» about 
if you diouU bTwZg toTJ^ ' ""* *° y°" grandmother 

tiol'te "o^'J^a?^*^^^'?')^ " Greatest admira- 
schoolleftT*^ '• ^^''y'had. Not many of her 

Christopher went over to say good-bve to M.-i» «;♦ t^- 

say them." *«»*» thank you for letting me 

He did not know what to do with his evenin» Tt, • • 
mouse sang in the small houraXt „i^h!^ J^ "^"6 
with the telling of the ho^Te^X eXn. ' "' 



) 



CHAPTER Xni 
X TciTT FSS to trv to work. He went back to hto walMng. 
and he went to Chelsea three ttae». «« T^"^ Oelsea 

monuments, and, lor "^^^TT^' , ,»eeDtoB willows, 

hViave. Hearts that he never dreamed ot were 
for Christopher. 
He saw the days sup by :. Monday ,T^y^We<^ 

watching the posts. E«? ?^f ^'^''A^TlX or^ 
the letters that Uy on the haU table, for a letter, o 

»74 



CHRISTOPHER 



and 



•75 

!». ^!!i^ **°**^ "" *" tf- home for Ewter. and ^ut« 

to ^n^hh "*'?'»:? "ot l*t her know whether or not 
ZiA^^ ; Thursday: hope died within him I& 
SiT'not W'^u*".''"»°"«°' "^ t"" tentatTtaviS 
S'Jlntl^tS:;*'^"'""^- Hep^^kedhisbag 

thiSi." ^li^' '"''• "^^ *»** "^"wtic eyes and a 
ttick orderly pigtail, met him at the station in th7™v^e^ 

SSv." af'tl^r'' "!!'* •^» »>" timid'^moft^ 
WM the fi^ f^l^°"' '^ •''^ *^* fi»t opportunity. 
Z TiSf i "^^t^t *»nething preoccupied or^turbSd 
Wm. Tmie was when she would have flung "Your WUte 

toLL'XIf' K^ '^' '^'» waited snoS^rS 
Tn f^'S, J? ^- ^''"'' •>" «>"««»k changing, ^wMt^ 
^^V^^^TT^ S"**^' «>« Cons^tte uS 
toS^- ^n^*" "'* y'^.t^-Wes," was what she^S 
te' P*>'^y''"'o™wslntomyear. / shall understend 

Chri^!!^ '^' „ Observed to her mistress that Blaster 

&iS-^^'''* '^' "' '^- *^ *<"^^«^ 
It WM Christopher's mother then who said " Nonsense." 



976 



CHRISTOPHER 



WeU, Good Friday-except, at Fathna taid, for the BuM- 
to not a cheerful day. It might have been ttrt. 

The only due wai the " No more poats I •«PP»^' .""^ 
cMaped Wm alter breakfait that morning, and did not. 
needkM to wy, escape his mother, 
^twu a Irtter thin. Bnt riM continned to obeerve Wm 

Hia^petitewwipoor. He played with hi. food rather than 
ate it. He might have been a High Churchman fasting. 

Aime d«Ste her theory, couldn't see that in abwlute 

silence. 
" I thought you liked mutton cutlets." 

This at luncheon, after seeing him eat nothing to ^ 
of at dinner the night before, and nothing to speak of at 
breakfast. 

" Then, my dear boy And yon ate no salt fiA either." 

Christopher said that she would not wish to see him grow 

fat. Even Ancebel had seen the error of fatness.^ 

<■ Salt fish wouUn't make you grow fat. Cutlet* wouldn t 

'i^Cfrsi^*ttat the cutlets should be handed to hin, 
.gain. But Christopher shook his head to them. 

He behaved Uttle better at dmner. though he wm <arrfol 
to makfaTtence of helping himself to most of the d.^« 
whSi were ofiered to him. He had " food to eat that ^ 
^not of"? Amie was dimly conscious of some sud 
Section at one period of his boyhood. It was bitter food 
then, and certainly it could not be nourahmg. 
"^' passed W Friday and Saturday. W'th S^d., 
came admnge. If it was a letter that he wanted. Easto 
WaJ's^t must have brought it. He came down lootonf 
radiant. 

He had got his letter. Before he had opened it, onert 
three which, in Mrs. Rommage's anxious scrawl, had be« 
«di.«rted to him from Cloisters Street he knew thath 
^Vt it at last. But mo.«. far more than this Forj^ 
Wis here that we have Christopher 1) in the handvmW 
in which, under his tandlady's wavenng aasures. it i* 



CHRISTOPHER 



So once more he had soraethiiig to Uve fnr-_» ^» * 
which to press, and «U -vas^ It V^ «~;?^^k*7^ 
given the freedom of f . housT tt,-^ f J^ J» had been 
much « invitation V J^on ^pSi^^niZ °^ «• 
authority, without which h* Mt h- " i j ^^ "*''*• "* »« 

^«n wtho«rrrij:iStionSi«d:s,'*'^"' 

another, the " Come acains " Mrf^ wactoag upon 
Constaple,' fareweU to hiS wojf h. < Tl **"" "* ^^^ 
nothing. He could not Cve Stt. In ' ^""^ ""f^ ^ 

that thi, S^^l^e'aJ'ci^^tJ^^ '=°- ^t. Jemison 

conscious of its oresen^ thllr ^ ' '"^ '"""'y- ^le wns 

knelt, and diSr^e^^™' , mIS"!^ " *° >>i" «hen he 
«-t he Jd"^ i?:iS"hi:r •--»'« «>«=^ a way 

-".sri^^;Se's^^— ^oi^ce-^^^^ 



il 

I I'f! 



3,y8 CHRISTOPHER 

or drove with his mothtf, found time to «t sometimes in tte 
^o^m with Trimmer (making her sewmg smeU. as she 
■aid of smoke !), and was happy. .„™j„ 

Fnt Mne ronfirmed in her conectures, was vaguely 
trebled A i^ten« once spoken by Mrs. Hemck rang 
S^-tlyln^ ears : " Hell be^ingin lo- -^ J>- 

days, and then he'U have you »>y «»*^. .^^;Xoat " 
„nt^ce rans in! Anne was not sure that the ttooat 
::S notCe^ed the dreadful prophecy more aptly. 



CHAPTER XIV 

H^JZLI^*i° london then, leaving his mother 
l i reassutwi on the score of his health, but just a little 
bit uncomfortable, and just a Bttie bit hurt too. Why she 
should have felt hurt she would not have found it easy 
to say. The tune had come long since when, in common 
Witt eveor mother, she had had to realise that she did not 
and could not, know the whole of the life of her son He 
had had a separate existence since the day he had thoughts 
to put mto words. It was his stepfather who had hdped 
her, somehow, to understand him. But she wished he coS 
have told her, as she was left to guess, that sraneone had 
come, or seemed hkely to come, into his life-that she could 
nave heard from his Ups no more than she had seen with 
her eyes : no more, that is, than that if he was happy he 
had been unhappy ; and he might have trusted her not even 
to ask why. For her vague sense of anxiety-uncomfort- 
abtoiess— she had no particular reason to give herself 

Christopher left in the morning. She saw him off at the 
stabon. And then, for discipline as much as exercise- 
partly even to combat the feelings desciibed-^e walked 
m to Windsor, where there was always some shopping to 

iL^T\ .^ *^* "°**^ ** ^" l"^* n^dway, she too 
looked at the nver for solace. The water that she looked 
at would m time flow through London, towards which 
thnstopher also at that moment was travelling. It would 
flow through Westminster even, within sight of some of the 
windows of Cloisters Street. 

At the thought she leaned towards it. 

Who fe she, Christopher, who is going to take you from 

^V tTL ^*"' ^""^ *''* '"'°'* **"« y°« fron» me, but she 

wu I know her. whoever she is, and what is in her heart. 

ae 1! tove you. I Arn't doubt Set your mind at rest about 

»79 






>8o 



CHRISTOPHER 



that. But you'll never be to her what you've been to me. 
How could you be, when you're part of me, flesh of my 
flesh ? Your father gave you to me. Don't think I've for- 
gotten him. There isn't a day even now that I forget. . . . 
The thought trailed away. She came back to it upon 

another. . , , . tt 

But don't think from this that I don't love John Hemmmg. 
You gave me John Hemming, do yon know that ? They 
both understand. Your father does if he knows, and he 
does know, I'm sure ; and John knowsr-oh, John knows, 
my dear good John. Your father gave me a male child into 

my arms. ... . ~ , ^ i 

The pause on the bridge took meaning. She leant closer 
to the iron, closer to the water. So may the Blessed Damorel 
have leaned upon the goH bar of Heaven. 

And you love her, Christopher, whoever she may be. 
You love her more than all of us. For her sake you'U leave 
us all gladly. The great mystery, Christopher : " For this 
cause shall a man leave his father and mother "... 

Not in words was Anne's heart outpouring itself— cer- 
tainly not in these. Her spirit, like Christopher's to the 
walls of his room, unburdened itself alently. A woman 
stands on a bridge and looks down at the flowing stream. 

Tell me. Tell me yourself. Don't let me hear it from 
others. Tell me what you can. TeU me when you can. Only 

tell me. 

Silence, more silence. The thoughts come at intervals, 
like the sentences spoken from the Table at the Sacrament 
of the Lord's Supper. 

A cart was to be seen along the road, and a little further 
on an old man afoot. Both were coming in her direction. 
She became conscious of their approach. In another mo- 
ment she must move. 

Oh, Christopher, my son, my first-bom . . . 

But that, if it, too, was unvdced, was a cry ; and tean 
gath«ed in Anne's eyes. 



CHRISTOPHER 



381 

and addressed it o^^ m^ cu *™^*** "^"^V *° *^<' ^ver 

"TWlwtT" u ^ : She was sending her message: 
lips «d^; st^'t?" ""* fonnSrwonis S'her 

The mpnlse was Mtisfied. She continued her wav T„ 
St^Lyli^loThld:^"" y passed W.":^^e wS 

ag-^st the punctuality of anyone S whom^S tT 

«J:r°iiL?h^^rd;^.^"'-*"*-- «^« 

the'^rri.J'&S'cSv'S^n'^- t"*--<lown 
fuUv {^hr^F^Jr^' a»d a fire was bumini! cheer- 

S'h^^Cthe^TtoS'"' ""^f" "^^ wTloS 
at Briif^ •*? r?* •"*" *"*«■ ^o' Easter, she told him- 

an^'fi'J*'''L°* ^ '^'^"- «>« tried to see the two toRether 

KS'^^"^.***'"'"""*''"*- OneorotherS^* 

^ *"*"'?»' 5^ WM Strange, for he could always cS 



I i 



IN 



Oa CHRISTOPHER 

up the image of his mother in Ws ^"d^,^^^^^^ 
Now, looking at Cora, he could not. He looked away mo 
«Md see^-visualise her at once ; looked back aad she 
w« g^e Orjloking away he could ^uaUse the g«rl 
tahcrwhite dress, see her to minutest detad^d then 
(blotting out her image, however!) see his mother. IHe 
two together he could not see. , . ■. 

Something came over the moment to cloud it. 

SrShave seen, for he saw her looking at hm, ques 

^T^Iook his head as if she had put her question into 

words. u 1. >> 

" You looked as if you saw ghosts. 

At the^^d of h« voice tte cloud, if it was a clou4 
diswrsed Cora St. Jemison had that in her sp^dong voice 
S^way^ made people ask if she sang. Christopher. 
hSJnglr^emberKw that he had wanted to ask to 
t^Sfe first time he heard her speak, and wanted to ask 

"Tdon't see ghosts. Tm not the kind. I-I was thinking 
that when you were there you prevented one's seemg anyone 
He^y have known that he couW say these things with- 

°"" SrS^was no one else to see ? " she said, smiling. 

" You were seeing ghosts, you see.' 
" Perhaps I was trying to," said Chnstophw 
She app^ed to think this over for a moment, but m the 

*"^ SS Suing me what you were doing," she remind«l 

"^^S^'so Uttle to teU. if he had told h.. what he 
haJ'^Jt^ iS he^must have said, " ^Marking time. 
Kicking my heels. Waiting for this «n^ent. ^^ . , 
Wttout many words he gave a suffiaently «<»P»^^' 
imSion o^ the quiet life in the Buckinghamshire * 
KSt her eyes softened at the Pict«xe jtoch ^ c«- 
tainlv did not draw, but which she may have made M 
3f. Th^honse always affected him. and he may have 
conveyed something to her of its meUow charm. 



CHRISTOPHER 



a83 



" ^,^^ ^* '***P window-sills," she said. 

" I've window-sills in my rooms here in London " 

So they left Datchet and came up to Westminster. 

How did yon manage to find them ? " 
He told her of Mr. Jellicoe's Mrs. Rommage. 

I d been looking, though." 
" For window-sills ? " 

"For window-sills and other things. I knew the sort of 
ro«M that I wMted. But I wasn't sure that they existed." 
^^ You knew them when you saw them ? " 
"Yes. One knows the outside of them in Hogarth's 
pctures-the inside too. Oh, and in Rowlandson"^ later. 
In ttuikshank s. even. The sort of windows that a juk is 
emptied out of on to somebody's head." 

"You fling up the window-sash," she said, and he saw 
with delight that she was with him. 
"And there's a beadle somewhere below, and a woman 

with i basket of fish '" 

She caught the idea at once, threw it back to him. Thev 
played with it like children with a baU. 
'^ And the fish are plaice and have faces like people." 
And everything's going on at the same time. People 
going to church, and to the Beggar's Opera ..." 
" And Shows— Fat Women ..." 
" Someone being shaved in the street . . ." 
" A dog stealing a bone ..." 

.'.' ^.P****""" P^^ way ; crashing down . , ." 

People playing cards underneath." 
They paused breathless. 
" I know your rooms," she said, smiling. 
" That's the outside of them." 

"The inside is— lawyers bringing somebody something to 
"'gn ... 

" Or bailiffs taking possession . . ." 

" No ; they are too comfortable and orderly for that— 
ail except your writing-table. There's a fine frenzy there. 

.? ^ y°^ "*™*' ^- Henick." 

" Oh," Christopher was saying inwardly, " it »s Yon. I 
knew It was You. I knew." 



I Hi 



^i'l 



y 



,84 CHRISTOPHER 

Cora herself at that moment may not have been sure but 
that he was right. Her eyes were shining, anyway. She 
looked even a Uttle exdted. However this may be, she was 
thinking probably that she had accounted for his "recog- 
nisings." He had "recognised" her, as he might be said 
to have recognised his rooms when he saw them. It must 
have been plain to her that he made pictures of everything. 

Mrs. Constaple's entrance now broke in upon them. But 
Christopher felt that the fates had been generous, and that, 
for the time being, they had given as much as he could 
reasonably have e:q)ected or hoped. He turned cheerfiilly 
to his hostess who came in trailing a scarf, and putting 
on the gloves which, in another minute or two, she would 
have to take ofi. .. ^ . j 

" I can only hope youll all forgive me," she began, and 
stopped as she saw that the room held only the pair by the 
fire. She gave Christopher her hand and welcomed him. 
" But the others ? ReaUy, it's too bad of Reggie. There's 
no excuse for him. There's less still for me, I know. But I 
aw here and he isn't." She turned to Cora. " And Geraldine 
and Charlie. Really ! I said seven punctually, and it's a 
quarter-past, and we shall have to go without our cofiee, 
which she knows I hate doing. Really I Really! Really! 

Christopher, ardent playgoer as he was, cared Uttle it 
they should be late for the play that night. 

" My husband asked me to make his excuses— did Miss 
St. Jemison tell you?— a poUtical dinner. Don't let me 
forget the tickets, Cora. They're on the mantelpiece there. 
She looked at the dock. "Really! Really!" 

Cora stood stiU, smiling ; and Mrs. ConsUple. after one 
or two more " Really I Reallys 1 " calmed down and came 
to anchor beside her. Then the door opened once more 
and the delinquents were announced in a bunch. 

Geraldine, kissing her mother, sad it was Charlie ; and 

Charlie on the other side said it was Geraldine. " Reggie . 

—the M ■. Heccadon, Christopher saw, of the memorable 

dinner-party, said it was the Ridiculous Hour. 

" Well, don't blame me if the fish is a cinder and we miss 



CHRISTOPHER 



Christopher ^S [or ht "N^ C ^""^ ^^^i*^'' 
came; but he wan w.*Jk7 f_^ "^ "^ *•• and it 

"Cha;Me, will you taE^.w" P*?P'* *^**« hands 

you take Miss StjS^?"' R^Lr"; ,''<'• Yes; will 

member, to ke^ yoTa^aJ^^'' "^ ^ "I^**' ^ «- 

tod himself nertMissT^JSSr'"'"*'^' *'* ''* ^"^ 
diiSJv^S;;"^;;S^«"'(-h- sumame he now 

;«^^^^jri.ht.andtrrosf^.fsr:£iiS;a;! 

H«^"apS'?rsJ?med"^^^' ^^^fir^ -- "^ ^'^-. 

quarter.fI"ClTo«°SL:?*He"SVV'%'^ 
rmgay and learned that his Hartngav-Sf H-^"' ^'"l 
the wanderings and of Chateau^aL ^ ""™Kay °f 
a dBtant covSn o* rharii^ »p-and-So memoiy— was 
hoetessofSTev nStwSL Z'i"'!::?-- «« t^^^ed to his 
when it was g^eraT bTIi'i^ T"^ ? *^'' «>nvei^tion 
to keep his eiS tern W f ^ *™*' *^°"«'' ^^ "^naged 
Com4rf^orac^tdv rlr*™"^""' °* °° ««« ^ut 

Geraldine'shJb^^rh^'SrSv^ wLSr?':?" *° ^^• 
and too much in love with wTlIf ! k '***'y "^"J- 
one else. The tU 7n^^ u^®' *° ''^^^ eyes for any- 

man whom Mre ^s^TT^H^ ^"«^ •^*'- ^ut the 
and whom cSstoK^r ^^1"^^ *P°"'« "' « ^-^P". 
forgotten, kepTThe one Si T^L^T °' ""'^ ^'^ "«* 
veraation which Ch^^^Sl -^^ P*^ *°e«««l i° a con- 
not to listrto W«?^ • '^'"S ^'^ *'^^' tried vainly 
nstento. Something m his manner displeased Chri^ 



,86 CHRISTOPHER 

lySat. Something o£ the sort, however. « "^ " ^-^ 
Sunt cousin of his friend Hairingay who A?""^ 
Sed it. for he and not Mr. Heccadon-nor Chnsto^ 
ISer. for that matter !-had taken 1^ Jown to di^. 
Hwriigay'8 distant conan talked contentedly to hto mother- 

•"St jSi^^ti^'^ached Christopher from rime 
to toe and her «rft laugh. She seemed totereated and 
IS. ^ could not hdp knowing this. What had h., 

^^BA^SfobTelt: he did inwardly, and presently-albert 

stiU inwardlv-foriously object to something to which Cora 

ifjSSheS it was Apparent, did not. He couW no 

rtlfinrv^t it was that he 80 strenuously resented. It 

^Sp^Iter account rather than his own that he r^ted 

tt-Xtever it might be. The feelings aroused ta him 

t^'Sfo ^oT^hich he had exp^ienced wh.^e saw 

ti« looks which were turned upon her m the street. It 

x^ins if tiiese looks were incarnate in the man at the end 

Tf^tabKo leant so perpetually towards her as he spoke. 

Need he have 80 leant towards her ? . . . 

^ CoTcUd not mtad. She could smile into his face 

.nHroVto^ce when he dropped his He had good 

Cksrfakind. He was justified, Christopher saw, mbemg 

S ^ven. and had strong-looldng white tee^ ^^ 

^wondered now how he could ever have thought him 

negligible. 

Mrs. Hairingay was speaking. • j ♦„ 

^ "rSfLrt of person who is always sutpnsed to 

find the world amaU . and, for the second time, as If she narrated 

some marvellous occurrence, she was saying : __ 

•• So it was you that CharUe's cousin went ab^ad with 
Y«! cSpher repeated ; it was he. As well talk ol 
one thing as another. _ ,^ 

•• I^ doing my in-law visits when I met hmi. Qmte 
one oftte ni^t of my new relations. He must have men- 
tion^ your name, but I never thought of <^^^ 
Im you. Of course, Td only met you once, but I d ofter. 



CHRISTOPHER 



i^^JTo?^ ^ S^ '-• \^ ^ •»>">«> With 

where. He wwted to ^y at SC^*,?** "^ "^^y ^y 

','. }j^- Henick— your cousin PhiUp." 
.. That . yew, ago," add Cluirtopher. 

«J?2..'*wi^«.'t:^^- ''^.tn r^** ^"«' 
For a moment the weSrt iS K..iT "^ ,*^* **"«^ ' 
h«l p.n«d in whatTe wL Ill;,^"S'\f "''^^^r. who 
his own across tto tableTnf h^i -f""" ^"^ '^^s with 
there was nothi,Sth«?to^Jt^,H^'':f "PP^^-tly that 
at once, and a^ ate^rb^ T^^'?'' *^^ back to her 

eJceUent ^r^lS^^^"';^T''°''- u**"' ^onstaple's 
guests, ^^ was as ashes m the mouth of one of her 

th^f^S^wZ^- ?*«'»«» had hardly lighted 

he«d on the stairs at the sa.^m«i^i ^n,- Co-^taple was 

hi-iJ^Lt^Seis^rte *.' i-^*- --<» 

finish their wine ^th^^SS' o'^lh*^* ^*^ ^""^ 
«se might be aiid iT m,-^^ v ' "^ ^''^^ «>ffee, as the 
had X E:'^J^. ^'ArZt^^^'.^-^.P^^haps they 

were gulped down, and a move wM^ti^* «h«s or a cup 
Mis. Constaple rtood It^i^ ^'^ ^°' ^^*^ *"<* coats, 
coffee. She h^ Sotten^he^lw*^' l*^'" '•'^"^ her 
despatched foTtS feiet^^.' " ^°"*"'^ "*^ 
cloak about her. Then CwT *° P"**^ •>«' 




,88 CHRISTOPHER 

there wu a hideout moment in '»»»'«'» ,I|*|.nW"**,.^ 
he should Uke Mi* St Jemiwn wm •flowed to be ptoyed 

'^^^ ^^"^ff Consuple -id « in ^,.^ 
ing time^-I learnt thit long ago from Geraldine-lm not 
competent to give an opinion." 
Mr. Heccadon grinned, waiting. ^^ 

" Stffl, if you aak me. my dear ^.. u t u- 

Cora may have seen Christopher's face. She shook her 
head with a soft laugh and followed her hoittojii. ^^ 

•' Then we must be content to put up with each other, 
said Mr. Heccadon, turning to Christopher «dth a snrfle. 

It was only one more ill which the horrible evening was 
doing him. GaU and wormwood to Christopher to accept 
anvtiiing from this man., but he had no excuse for refusing ; 
so wittas good a grace as was possible in the drcumstanas. 
ho took the offered seat. It soothed him in some swt to 
think that the invitation, which might have bem word^ 
more happUy, could scarcely have been worded more 

*^" At least we can smoke," Mr. Heccadon said, holding 
out his dgarette^ase ; and Christopher had at any3Mhe 
opportunity of poUtely refusing something. 
•^vJTt of women, they fuss so. Why no^ have tot « 
finish our dinner comfortably and be tate? Haventlmet 

vou before, there f " , . _. . 4. ,, 

Christopher, wondering whether he remembered, said that 
he had dined with Mrs. Conataple once befwe. 

If there was any reserve in his tone Mr. Heccadon d«i 
notap^toobs^eit. He smoked in ruminative silen« 
for a minute or two and then chiKkled. 

" That was funny, wasn't it ? " 

" What was ? " 

" Oh. about the lift, you know. Coming with me, I mean. 

Not comine, you know." . ^ 

Chris^W'9 musdes were aU taut. He was as far mto 

his comer as it was possible for a person of his sue to gst. 
" Ever seen her mother ? " 
He took Christopher's inarticulate answer for No. 



CHRISTOPHER 



Tluf. gone oSTeoS;; nil^^'«*" *^« •^«'««* 
that was a couple of W^'JTin^ h^k*^ ^ '"' ''*^ 
red-brown. You kn™ ♦i!f^' *? "rf»-hert was the usual 
priate really. But bv W^!k'"*^° «^°"- """t appr*. 

.bout her. VtS^% '^J?* t'7^"''-"*'^- 
or the sere and ySow tooth If»K ^f??' ^ "•»"* her- 
that amounts to Shi I« '« ^*',.r''^'* ^ «*n«*"y what 
like a child'^ Yes by jove^ "^^ " '^''^ »"<» « '"""th 
woman." ' ^ "''"^*' "he was and she Is a pretty 

'inderthedis<»mfortSLmLr %'!'' ^'^ "*"^ 
mother must faeW^^g ca^T^T' '^'' ^*- J*"^"'* 
feeling a sort of romll^tt^^ ™', ''* *'*' conscious of 
toKL Evea^now ZIh '"k "*** *" **>»* ^ *<» bei,« 
<» she ha^l^k;,'^^"^ tS'^^«me'»ber her d^ 

Of the Champs de f£ at^oL^'Ji of *"' """' 
h«d been touched at the an^^^l ? f^ "' memory 
o' "ipitied human t^s "^Z^ ^\^- ^* "P% 
hered her shining hS^^ l^ ^ ^- He remem- 

hairofthechiSed^;;S^e/i^w° ' >x * "'^ «^«» ") 
the man besidTwT feme^jj^*' T^ '"" ««" •>« hated 
»* her seemed antasult^^to „^»^tT."^* ^' "Poke 
right to respect. *° ""^ "•»<' ^^ fotteited the 

" Eh ? " he said. 

"I didn't say anything," said Christopher 

-^^^'IS^nT'y ^^- The lights of it 
Pkasure. sS hi^' ^"£ ^'^, 8»ve ^hristophe; 
he saw only a g^ ^Xl *"1 P'^^*- For radiance 

^more shock he had when, in Trafalgar Square. Hecca- 



CHRISTOPHBR 



ago 

"Qnite tnother type. Quite dMhwnt. "»?J*r "~" 

" 1 » d»«iAt«. yon know. Qoto difhfwt » W^ 

Zi. too. tiiet her moth« never h«J. te •>»^»>"^^- 

SI^Tywrnotlced? Aeobtletyl Amyrtenrl But I cent 
Bive e neme to it. Peihepe you cen help me. 
•^o 'SSi.opher h«i ^«>*^-^Aa S: 
He had difficulty in controlling the voice 7*^. *^^ "": 
The etrrin d keMring eilenee wa. nearly int«to«ble leem ed 
iS£tyXSrtatoler.ble. He m«t get o«t lb cooW 
nTStitUl and hear *ny more. He mnrt get o«t. or he 
SSSldn-rLwer for whit he might da Hewantedtotoke 
STman by the throat, or ttrike him acrr-i the mo«th. 
How Jare he take Mtoi St Jemtoon's name on hto Up»? 
K £ he -vonr her. a. it w«, on to tonge^. 

p^ gMge. appiatoe her? How dare he invite Chrtotopher 
*°S£SS.Xie rai-d one hand towarf. the trap 
J^Tte MW the oU»er on the door in front ol him rather 
than watconacioM of placing it there. „i„ ««„ed 

At ChrtetoiAer'a movement Mr. Heccadoo. who aewned 
p^LS^S«« oi hi. ofience, k»ked at him enquiringly. 

" Anything the matter ? " he «aid. 

It ^veOWstopher time to recoUect himeeU. A common 
«w ? WaaXt what he had been on the pcint of preop- 
StiM? A vulgar quarrel? Two mc rtart out togeth« 

the place where the othew await them I Not to be thou 
5. He brought Ae half-rafaed hand to his hat as rf it W 
teen some idt and not his own impulsive act which W 
J:^*S:t'^t of puce. and. - the h««>m ^ ro^ 
tato the Strand, afiected to steady hmaelf wittr&e other. 
He was wise enough to let his action answer for itself. 



CHRISTOPHER 



•91 



•«^«ittol««eiid. *"* '*^'** •vwtag would drug 



4 i| 



CHAPTER XV 

SINCE the woist that was said of him afterwards waa tUt 
he talked to you and thought of something else at the 
same time (it was Geraldine who said this), it may be supposed 
that he acquitted himself fairly weU. He smoked a cigarette 
with Harringay's distant cousin between the acts, and t^ked 
of the play and of Harringay. He kept out of the way of Mr. 
Heccadon, and of Miss St. Jemison. He put Mrs. Constaple s 
doak about her shoulders when aU was over, and picked 
up her fan for her, and her handkerchief, and the case of her 
opera-glasses. He it was who went out to find her footman 
for her and to watch for his reappearance with the carnage, 
though, the Harringays having had the good luck to chance 
at race on their bridal coapi, that left Mr. Heccadon the 
freer to talk to Miss St. Jemison. From the steps Chnstopher 
saw him so talking to her. He was spared and he spared 
himself nothing. .^^ .^ . i. 

The leUef came, and the unbearable pam with it. when he 
found himself alone. t- i. i 

He crossed the Strand and went down to the Embankment. 
Again came reUef as be left the noise and the turmoil behind 
ton ; and again, as ii ihe cessation of them gave it fuller 
scope, the unbearable pain. 

What was this pain ? What had he done to deserve it t 
No pain that he had ever endured was like this. His heart 
was aching as if it had been beaten. He stood stiU for a 
moment or two. breathing hard. . j *i. 

Poor Christopher, who saw what was not there, heardtne 
unbearable, and now suffered what was not to be sufferwl. 
He had some dim inkUng of how things were with him but 
took no comfort from such vague perception. He only knew 
that, whereas he had been happy, he was at that moment 
as unhappy a being as would be found in aU London. 
392 



CHRISTOPHER 



"^^r^^l^^^' NotwhoUy. Honestly 
alone Mth H befST'.^ ^ew mnmtes that she had been 

distances in the hoJ^tSlJS. 1±1.*" '"r^"" 
been established betwe«iTh»l*r u ^"""ething which had 
eyes. Skes^J^^^^'^J^'-Tbieiunieri^ 

she knew his rooms y^^Tm^y^""."^^" ^'^ ^^ ««* 
had laughed into tkTt^LT^* bf «« from the Cora who 
who had dallied^ritt I^ ° her neighbour at dinner, and 
with him rZ SJ? S °" *?t*.^^ ^"""1 drive 
as with a sort of ieSect£r,nn k ^^'^^P^^^ ^It sick, 
of thepotentialiti^^SSe/PP^™. ? *^« *^°"ght 

stupidly at tSIwater "" ""^^ °* *^« «>«» «d looked 
^'JWhatshaUIdoP-hesaidtohimself. " What am I to 

What he 'sT Thf^.TSrLS'' °°* """^^ 
<iaj:fa;ess. A moment ^r he c£' to S- "^"^ •»*» «>e 

"i"a'^y^5;^T'"'^"*"^*°''«'-'>''«-''eracoin. 
He looked at her gravely 
" N°'^' don't laugh at me." 

w|'i^b^S"Cl^ ■ ^ P^^"^ ""'^ ^''•'^y ^-- She 
"I'm not laughing at you." 

to mSti^* "^ '""" ""'*^'- ^- "^ hat, uncertain what 
ItWheJierw^^rSn^w^"'^^^^'*^-^ 

She d^ her S^JnTq'u^^^J' ^""^ ^^ ''^ ^^o-^^* «• 
Whatch un'appy for ? " 



»94 



CHRISTOPHER 



He w«8 not going to tell her that. 

The girl took a long look at him. Sometiiing that was 
wistful, and in an odd sort of way motherly, too, came into 
her little pinched face of the gutter. 

" Look 'ere. She don't mean it," she said in her strange 
little washed-out voice. " Not if she's any good, she don't 
mean it. She don't know when she's well off, that's all. 
Got you, and don't know if she wants you ; is that it ? Got 
the kind sort— oh my Gawd I— and don't know what that 
means. 'Ere." She pushed her hat back and showed a scar 
on her forehead. " See that ? And "ere." She pulled up 
the thin sleeve and showed another on the thin arm. " Thai 
the other sort. I know what I'm talkin' about. I've 'ad 
to know." 

Christopher, in turn. Was looking at her ; he had looked 
at her before ; really looking at her this time. 

" Are you a witch ? " he said. 

" Witch ! " She was a-spike in a moment. " Who are 
y' callin' names ? Witch ! 'Ow old d' y' think I am ? " 

" Twenty-three ? " 

" Well, that's just what I am," she said, mollified. " Least, 
I'm twenty-four. What d' y' mean, witch ? " 

He did not explain. 

She looked at the scar on her arm again, and went back to 
what bad been in her mind. 

"Tell her. Make her know. Make her know without 
'avin' to know for 'erself. We're fools— girls are, all of us— 
yes, rich as well as poor. Don't know what we want any of 
us. Made like that, I believe. Can't 'elp ourselves. So don't 
believe it, sir. She don't mean it. If she's any good she 
don't mean it." Her eyes swept over him again, as they had 
swept over him when she spoke the words before, and the same 
kx>k came into them. " If she does mean it— don't be angiy, 
sir— you take it from me, she's no good. And if she's no good 
—you take this from me too, sir— you go away. You 
dear. You"— she gave a common little gesture— "yoc 
dear." 

She moved off then with a quick shuffle, and paused. She 
came back holding out her palm. 



CHRISTOPHER 



>9S 



she said 



.,;«J^ know what yo«w.,gi^.^P 

He smiled withoSTSi ^ *^* "^ *» •^ J"^ 
She nodded lier thanks 

butl" tofi'"^'"'**'^''' ««lP«tittohermouth- 
He was better after that ti,« « • 

^. r^ alwa^L^^tav^L^^L'"'* ^ '=^*' 
gnlfing him ; but it was nnt +il , i. *^fep«>8 over hun, en- 

few znomeni, a.^d'Sret.Ut'S^^&l*'"^^* 
less m reach of its fierr«t r.Z!y " eoDed, it left tun a little 

wards under the st^^e SS^^- ^ ^' ^^^l ^^^^ 
began to soothe hkT' He ^flf'^'^ °* *^^ "^8^ 
evening which had le^ l£ ^ wl£S Z"" "^^ °^ ""^ 
Poor little drab whohad ^™^^ *"«^ ^"^ «»•«■ 
"^ning came, who lw£,tSw ."^ ' ^«" ^e 

h".5«^- - - "^"JSThX^^^^Xffi 
"to^^erno^^*5.tr.?^'Sar even have 

had appeared to hiS^ ^t 1. "' '^°'* *° ^''ere she 
He had"^ fet her taow wLf L SLT'^'^ *° 1^ ^n. 
not even thanked her *^ ^""^ ^""^ bhn ; had 

StS.^ne"^^'^ *"1^ - '^e t^ed into Cloist«. 

themtoS*tS'Kfto"^irIt^^^- "^-"S 
so earnestly was over ^ ^ ''*' ""^ '""''ed forward 

daSri'ra'SSrtp^il"' -3-ay-was never quite 
Christopher loo^aSeS.Sdr*'' *1 """"^^ *^«-- 
'^•^t over the door. ^'^^^^^^^.T JS^IeSs 



P 



«r 



*>6 



CHRISTOPHER 



of Hogarth and Rowlandwn one aspect of it was to be ex- 
pressed accurately enough. There were the sashes you 
flung up to e^ipty your jug (or other vessel) on to the heads 
of roysterets below. There, in the mellow brick walls, was 
the dignified eighteenth-century background for the un- 
dignified businesses and follies of the streets. But though 
they might lend themselves to the broad humours of a 
coarser age, these were old walls, with critical faculties, pre- 
dUections, prejudices, sympathies. They had accepted 
him because he loved them, and they had seemed to have 
accepted Cora. It was difficult just then to think of 
Cora as understanding them, if she could tolerate— could 
tolerate . . . 

It was jealousy then ! 

Yes, he was sick with jealousy ; made unju- with jealousy ; 
made even ridiculous by jealousy. 

The pain was back with him again. A very tidal-wave 
of pain, this. It submerged him ; left him half drowned ; 
choking ; fighting for breath. The Uttle drab on the Em- 
bankment could not succour him while the waters poured 
over his head ; Qoisters Street could not ; nor the message 

of the stars. , . , . . « • ^ 

He took his key blindly from a pocket, and let hunself mto 

the house. 

A fortnight went by. Christopher walked it. He did, 
and attempted to do, no work. Some day, he supposed, 
what was 'a him, what he felt to have in him, would be 
released. But this was not yet. He was offered commissions 
which he did not accept. He offended a person or two. 
He was said to neglect Opportunities. A rumour of this 
reached his stepfather, who did not tell his mother. He came 
to see him, however, and actually found him. 

Christopher, unlike most young men with fathers or step- 
fathers, was never shy with the husband of his mother. It 
was strange how th". two understood each other. 

John Hermning, 'vho could not have written a Hne to save 
his life, seemed to know by instinct what went to the wnting 
of lines. 



CHRISTOPHER 



«97 



" Getting on, old boy ? " 

" Not a bit." 

" That's all right. Wait for it" 

waSS-lt. """ **'*^' '"* ^"^ ""* '°« ««* ^ was 

" How's Mother ? " 
Raiting for you. When are you coming down to us 

" Not yet. Father John." 

ChJ^^ Hemming settled himself more comfortably in one of 
Christopher's comfortable chairs. ^ 

•' Come down and dine one night." 
No, John. Not just now." 

" What is it, old boy ? " 

Itj^'t^^t^^- ^'•"*'^ ^'-*'* ^ -a«er witi, it. 
" And yon thought it was." 
Christopher nodded. 
" And yon can't work." 
"Or play." 

" Everything else hangs on to it." 
" Everything." 

John Hemming lay back in his chair. He watched th^ 
^e^whach twirled upwards, a twisting ri^!*S S 

■'• N^ ^l ^ ^ ^° '°' y"" ' " ^^ ^d at last. 
Nothing that anyone can." 

He went to the window and looked out 
withSt "SZ^"^ *° '° '^'^ ''•-"*'" ^- -id P-enUy. 
His stpplather contemplated his back_th« ™ i 

£ etS " e:^' "«^,"«'^°-? »' the brain-w^k^rli*^: 
«Hn ! TTk ^ "* '°^''' ^ he undoubtedly was he was 
n^ Irl ^^.J' r^i '^'^- John Hemniing^s too J^? w^ 

you, and don . know if she wants you ! " He too \t thl 

thought could have called Heaven i witness ' ' ^* *^' 

Christopher, upon his part, was thinking that his step- 



agg CHRISTOPHER 

father »« • good iort. Who-ehe wwld not have been 
gridng him <r»«tion8, or il not asking him questions, pototing 

ooTSat he was not asking or going to ask him q'^tkms? 

He was only behaving as he always behaved, and that was 

q;>lendidlv. 
There was a long pause. .. jj i„ „,♦ 

" Mind, I don't know ye* " Christopher said suddenly out 

of the silence. . 

It was as if the thing struck hrni as he gave it voice. 

He did *o< know that he had cause for what he was fedtog. 
It might conceivably be, that, with the injustice whidi he 
coi^beUeve himself to be doing to the man he dishked. 
te was doing Cora an injustice also. At least she was un- 

^ John Hemming did not stay long. H\l^ *^,*^ *° 
catch. He did not say, a word to Christopher about what it 
WM that had sent hiin. He always held that Christopher, 
whatever he did or did not do. would ultimately be all nght. 
?S«what had he come for ? No. Though he had Imown 
that probably no more would be said than had been said, he 
w^ S^ fa Ly doubt as to why he had ^me ; nor w^ 
he dissatisfied with the result of his visit. He mnmbered 
things which he had certainly not said to Oii^ophers 
Ser. and which, none the less certainly, had been con- 
veyed to her. He remembered things to make whidi clea^ 
to hfai she had not needed words. His marnage to her had 
lantely been the outcome of such charged silenres. He 
^not need Christopher's " You are a good,*"^. John, upon 
my soul you are," to teU h'-u that he had helped him There 
are moments, he knew this, when someone-a fnend. that is- 
has only to be " there." 

He had risen, and he put out his hand. 

" No. if you'll wali a second while I change my coat 1 u 
come with you to Waterloo." 

Christopher dived mto the next room. When he came 
back puUfag down his sleeves and setthng his collar. John 
SmSv^s standing fa a patch of sunlight n^ one of the 
wX^uinfag his finger along the Ifaes of the panelling. 



CHRISTOPHER 



399 



"What to h about them? 

The walk ? " 
" Yes." 

' The Datchet house has it too." 
Jl \^:.. ^"J ^ '**' '* *^«n ""ore here. It isn't only the 

SiSl ^*'"^'^- .^°*""* "^^ ">«« must helpyoS. 
uinstopher. They do, don't they ? " f } > 

" AU the time," said Christopher. 

m«rV' '* ""i'^^nderf"! what John Henmiing knew. So 
much more than you could possibly have eroert^ from 
a^one so thoroughly normal ^s^e AeTo^t Z 
h^ on to thjs, if he had reahsed it, was one of woS that 

ZnLf"^ '^*' ^'''"' '*=* ^ 8°' His mother hS 
wondered to amazement; wondered more and more in the 
Pa«mg of tte years. Trimmer even, humbly-as toowW 
her place— had wondered too. «iowmg 

fhr!!?X r**^ Westminster Bridge and threaded their way 

suZ Af^T^ ^"^ "^^^^ »"*^ ^"^^ °f *« river to t^e 
station. At the entrance Christopher said, " ShaU I come 
down with you now and dine to-night ? " 
" Why not ?" said his stepfather. 

piiJ^ to" ^*" ""^^ ^^ "^"^ ^^ P'*^"™ °^ ^''t *'^- 
nn^™^^^ ^*u *^* schoolroom (which had been the 

LTr7^' T ■'"' "^f **" ^*^ **«> Ancebel and W 
gov^ess, domg work for an impending bazaar. 
Brought a man back to dinner," he said 
Anne hoped there was enough fish. 

awiiTtSr '^''■^*°P^^^'" ^^ J°hn Hemming, with 
Well, he hadn't, it seemed, come to break anything to her- 

W« M^,^ *i^ something which her husband probably 



300 



CHRISTOPHER 

the Mked her husband 



He 



" What did he come down for ? 
afterwards. 

" Nothing. He josl came down." 

" You went to see him." 

" 1 was at the Stores. I just went to see him." 

" AU the same," die said, " he's not reaUy himself, 
wasn't at Easter, and be isn't now." 

" Oh yes, he is," said John Hemmug. 

The evening was quite a happy one to Cliristopher. John, 
somehow, lilte the friendly rooms, had helped him. He 
went to bed in a happier frame of mind than he bad known 
for days, and slept excellently. For the dull weight to which he 
awoke every morning, he was conscious of a feeling of pleasant 
anticipation. 

Amongst bis letters \^as a letter. He grew djziy for a 
moment at the sight of it, and then opened it with trembling 
fingers. It was very short. _^ 

'• Why don't you come and see us ? " wrote Cora St. 
Jemison. " We know you pr? busy " (did they ?) " but think 
yon might spate time to see if we are still alive. Sundays 
always, as you know, but this week we shall be in on Thursday 
also." 

" Mightn't it be better that I should not ?" Christopher 
wrote after long thought. 

" Come," wrote Cora, " and tell me why." 



# 



CHAPTER XVI 

P-TacX^ti"* f^*"!*"- ^"^tobe consdou, of 
ZrJ^ K 2?***" *" ** movement of his affaire A 
<*rt«fa breathlessness uervaded th»m ttT- *^- ■* 
suddenly to he inn^» pervMed them. Things seemed 
fnrifT . moving towards something, ft was as if 

>i>«<i.. TT. ^. ■ iooKea at the waves and breathpH 

deeply. The tide was comins in T •+♦1- ^a Dreauied 
other incomings of the taT^HvL • ^^."'""°"*^ "^ 
Thincs s«.ri^ Vk- , !^^ "* '^' that was all. 

nrt k^ iSL something waiting to he released. He tad 
feemed miprwoned in him and to clamour to be lefw' 

^.easi^^ Sd^'th'ri^^j:^,^^^^^^^^ ''«' -•> 

aTifthlr- ^he two together, renewmg his hope seemed 

e^i^^^tkriTe: S""* have b™^ht'about°S^ c^J 
™ me letter which was to bring him into touch on^ 
301 



11 



i;H 



3M CHRISTOPHER 

m<« wtth the hou- from whkh he h«l been to<vto««^ 
In reaUty. of course. aU they had done wa., by <U«^acting 
^ attration from hi. distemper, to enable him once mow 
to look ahead, and so forget his misgivings. 

m day by the sea-the day with toe f*.^*" "J*" 
ataort say. for the sea was his WenA-stm further soothrf 
Z. The «in wa. hot enough to altow him to Ue ^ti« 
beach. He «irrendered himself to the pleasant inBuenc« 

of the peaceful afternoon. I^«y »?« V'^-^^^v H 
and hiS^tea. and after tea he came back The d^ ^ 
to its close. He dined in the town and again he came biu*. 
He MW^Lht fall and the stars come out. He watched 
Z my»t«£ of the night deepen as douds erne up fr«», 
the south. Thei« was no moon. Th«« /«*« "8''^'" *?* 
Srt«noe which seemed to breathe in the darkness. The 

stars themselves seemed to breathe. ... 

He stayed tiU the last moment, and then, refreshed and 
renewed, came back to London. 

Mrs. Constaple was out. he was toW the ne*t day. when 
he presented himself in Grosvenor Street! but msSt 
JenUson was at home. Christopher was shown, not into 
L> great drawing-room, but into a smaller, more intimate 
loom on the ground floor. _„„i., 

^ere he found Cora sunounded by three or four peopk 
wh^if he was to see her alone, he foresaw that he would 

*^L* it^wSTL time, who rose from beside a tea-table to 

'^Mv'little party to-day." she said. "Mrs. Constaple 
was to have come to it but she had to go out. Do you know 
S«. Heccadon?-Mr. Herrick. And jJiss Pe^reath? 
He knew Miss Pentreath and shook han^ with her. Mr. 
Panritur Mr Herrick. M. de Parencourt." 
^ev 'settled down. Christopher thought he was going 
to?^e it But he did not hate it. Mrs Hea^on-some 
^.m^on, he supposed, of the Mr. Heccadon whom he hj 
„.et at dimier-was of a type, it is true, wh.^, just tte^ 
establishing itself, did not appeal to hm.. There was 



CHRISTOPHER 



"•••"nge MUMfaow in her odd dotiuo aiui ^^ 

of «wom« into, thfag of anient beau J '"^ "« 

•W ♦^^^ who would be .iaging the Indian Love Lvric. 

'■'»' Uk suraurig Un. . . ." 

T^ swert husky voice was heart-breaking 
It seemed exactly right ~~^. 

loa?.^ "^ Z* "^I '^"' Christopher saw-not over- 
the heavier fmS^il ^ * bookcase constituted aU 

Now the ' Asra.' Mo„ ^^ ■> n .". 
aren't, are yon ? " 
" If you're not." 

» ^'~''' "'» '"»-■»««"". «*ri lor «» »,, 
Mrs. Heccadon nodded. 



~v.._usvi uisuinung. 
May we? If you aren't tired ? You 



?*' 



CHRISTOPHER 



304 

" AU the Mone " mM IUh Penu ath. 

" Vm all the Mune " *eid Con. 

•jM^TH^nSoM** the long In Engltah. whkh may 

See rf h^ Wi^ Bke the room lt«U. ««n«i e«ctly 

'**JJrin the fweet hwky voice took up It. bunlen. 

•' Vailr w€Ht lit wmlntu Uufy 

m,nllU malm wiilt wtrt plasU»t- 
" Daih, 1 1ll' *»"»' ^ n"^' 

Wktn Ikt wttn wkU4 mm ^asimf. 
IMly ptm lupaUmd /•/«•. 

And litu mddn ««^_f^'lfl;}J" ' 



" And l»* tim rtflM, 



• Tluu mml nil mt wkml l}/<~ 
And Iky amtry and Iky Undnd. 

__ ^ .^ 'Mynamilt 

'ilakimii; Icaiufiim Ytt 



Andn^rtnUtflkfAtna ..„ 

Wkt, wktnitr Iktjt hot, mml ftriik. 

Ye., a. she «ng it. it weiucd exactly rigW-e^" *^'^' 
» Ifa PareituTthe purist, must needs pomt out, the won- 
^"toX^Sultairdiughter" should certainly have 
ST-SS'. wondrous tovdy «ia«8"«-" , A«» tho^ 
Xn thS made her sing it again, she ««>8 '*.^«» '* *?^ 
iT^m the originilGem.an. it still seemed to have been 

"S^Ai^^"^ for a lev moments after that. 

^■nriJXtis dying." Miss Pentreath held. "She 

"^r^f^^t^""^. Pargitur. ; She was a U,vdy 
Sultan's daughter, and he was a slave.' 

" Nothing could have saved hmi. 

It was Cora who said this. 

" But eef she lofe 'eem' " 



CHRISTOPHER 



305 



"She 



Lovely 



" She did lova him." 

C^ ig^, and they ,U looked at h«. 
Of coune ihe loved him. That wo whv a- .~j. . 
•"tan. That wu why ihe ukiid m^ kT ^ "* "P^ ♦*» 
that wa. why the iJ^^T^'^.""*- Above all. 

" Then eef she lofe 'eem-—" 
" Didn't the ? " 

B^C^^Jl^-^- ««» Pa»«ed at Chrittopher. 

hJSlf hett'hlTT^ £r ttnr/*'^ 
So it wasn't really d^^* ^ ^ ^* ^^V' » believe. 

..ior S^'^'U^r^- ♦» — " the pHncest. 

stc^alt^S^th?"- ""*=^ «^^ -'^" «->«*»« Of the 

didn't she took«r^;i. "^^e P«»ple love her. If they 

.tthLt.SIS^hS'^^^eev^*'*!:^- ^"''""'^ 
sleepy. She didn't ri^QK ^^^' '''"** **'*°'* ^aUy 
•o/hertotl^/' ^^- ^''* "" ^ busy making m« 
" Oh, Maigot I " 

The protest came from Miss PmtT»,>tt, n 

"She was. It's tmtt r^ ^^? • ^ora made none. 

love her. Even slav^ ck ""^ y""- All men had to 

in the won? 1,?^ ^f^'X;? «;! '-e .^ ,ve.y m.„ 

she got it-got it always " ' ""''' * °'" '' "' "' ««• 

V 



■li 



CHRISTOPHER 



306 

" She eot his too. She only went to the fountain because 
he iM^ S^e was the ioman whom all men do love. 
" And did he die ? " someone ask^. ^ 
" He made the poem, and that hved. 
Tt fell to Pareitoto point out what was obvious: that 

%«" Heccadon was not to be trammelled by such acci- 

"'^o^f:^^£tor was anything yet who had no^ 
jNODoay evci ^g turned him 

been mortally ^"rt- «« ^^^^^y^e. Heine imagined 

into a poet. °5,''.P°'^Lr E^X'^st who has ever Uved 

S^'^ry^^^t.'"^ ra^^ oT^he Asras who whene'er 

^''^Srtt^wirhetd^-^d^.Pentreath_"the 

^^^Ua^XstS^V' Mrs. Heccadon said. "Am. 
doesn't always die the day he's taU«l. 

She rose Irom the piano as she ^P^-^ "^^^^ 
more a rag of a woman of rather debased type. 

" How did you like her ? — « asked Christopher wha. 
the others had gone. 



CHRISTOPHER 



' A man 



307 

He had outstayed them aD. The two other m-„ k ^ 
shown sums of a ivinx^o.,^ * ; ^ "**" had 

"She's wonderful always." Cora said " R,.+ 
of if &on*"'^n:'f r™^"*^"^-^'* want to talk 

Any^?i;j? s thS'L: "^r, r. t *''°- •--• 

like him and a oa^on Ht- ^ ."* '* *°°'' '^-* "an 

little s^':z7i ""rj^Ti^to^s^r^^i^f, 

a vo.« to speak of, and she has no pSS meftod a^j 
f ^d^s'doL'T; r\'" ^^"« ^ itsS^y 

that^h.«^,^,''SlX/L';:^adetr^^^ <'- 

s^^S^t^^^laiflSe": Jt IX'tlt^^ ^'^ 

,, ttJt IS that, he's ahnost justified, isn't he ? " 
suddS ''°" "»« like this ? " Christopher broke out 
" Hurt yon ? " 



CHRISTOPHER 



308 

" Yes hurt me. You did. the other night, and you're 

hnrHn^'nTnow No. you don't know why you're domg 
hurtmg me now. no, yu ^^ 

it now— in what way. I mean. 1 see tnai. duv y 
the other night, and it didn't stop you. 

" Was that why you kept away ? 

.' Of course it was why I kept away. Vo you think it 

""^ I^Zi't know what I think," she said with a Uttte hesita- 
tion ^" ExS^cePt th-t y°"'« '"^ ^"^ '*'^''- 

Christopher felt penitent at once. 

" I suppose I am. I suppose I have from the very nist. 

I suppose " 

He broke off. 

She looked to see why. „ . j^ 

" That wasn't Heccadon ? " he said. That wasn t ner 

'"^ w'c^iL that was Mr. Heccadon. (M cour«. that w^ 
her husW. Why shouldn't Reggie Heccadon be her 
husband ? " 
There was a long pause. ^. • ^ „ 

'• More even than I knew." he was thinking. 
The oddest string of Buts was m his mind. But 1 man i 
j;\e vS Sed," alternated with. "__But h^d^es out 
^thout her " " But he made love to you "—a difficult But, 
SSteS to put into the thought which h^y ne^ worj. 
"^nt vou let him " ; a more difficult still. But MR. 
C?n^ apte aSs toi vrithout her," and " But die calls hun 
SS^S fshe liked him," were in some sort variants 0^ 
on^otKht " But you kissed her," summed up all these 
Buts '^t you kis^ her " : all these Bute put togetter ! 
^e pa^ tether see something of what he was tlunking. 
Sh?piS^»ut the most obvious of his proteste and dealt 

"^She won't dine out with him if she can help it. Most 

^^:t''r;nrsr;o make it a^y be«er-^d not even 

-'j?li;;'trdSt;."r«iri:*2S^ten,^ 

It's rund«^ood thing. People who know fall m wrti 



CHRISTOPHER 



309 

thearraijgwnent; people who don't-just blunder. Thev've 
plenty of the same friends, and they've plenty of tUfiS^t 
ones. They go their own ways." H^ty oi cunerent 

" And when people dine with them ? " 

owi^iti^* ^STv *^'^ T^" *° discriminate at their 
own parnes. 1 don t know, for I've never h««i Th^ r 

staples dine with them somkmes.'' ^'^ ^"■ 

^^Christopher's expression may have asked what he did 

P.ji'shfdStSXte^JS^s^?.'^-'* •»- 
It came back to the last of his Buts. 
" She sings beautifully,' he said 

Hic^n J'i * ^"^ *"^' *^**- He thought of the pale 
issatefied face, and the curiously beautiM h^ votoe 
He beheved that she did mind what she didn't seeihp^Tj 
knew aU that she chose to ignore. ^^ '"**"* ^' that she 

c^J^ ^^ sings more beautifully ihan anyone I know " 
tore said m course of time. -^"w. 

The tones of her voice struck him again, and he remem 
ber«d, mjelevantly, that he had not even yet iZa^ XC 
she herself sang. H she did, he thought that hTw^SS 
her smgmg voice to be not unlike Mrs. HeccadoTs^ 
ttought pointed the s:antiness of his kno^rof £• 

^^fl ^t ""T °' ""''■ ^"^ "^ «> infini^ much to 
nun, and he knew her scarcely at all. 

^ey had got away from what they were sayine 
hi,?*before. *° " "^"^ *^' ^^"^ "^"^ hadb'roken from 
^^\Vhy do you hurt me? Why do yon want to hurt 

'.', ?^ ^° ^ ''"^ yo« ' I don't want to." 
Then why do you ? " 

n,r \ *K°l*^'y- ^ *""«''* y"" '^""Id have sat next 
me at the theatre the other night. I made Charlie H^av 

''irt;J^^\^<^'f^^ioryou. You wouldn't tS?^ 
It was out now. He could not recaU it, and he let himself 



3IO CHRISTOPHER 

" You talked to him the whole evening. No. not the 
whole evening. That was what wa<> cruel. Before dinner 
VOtt-weU, it was wonderful. I could hardly beheye my 
Kood fortune. Then think— think of dinner; thmk of 
after dinner. I don't know what right I have to-to talk 
to you like this. None, I suppose, unless sufienng gives 
one a right. I was in pain. I teU you. I am now. I— I 

*^e°tumed away from her, and leanfag upon the piano he 
buried his fact in his hands. . 

" Don't speak to me," he said. " Just for a mmute. don t 

^a^coSd hear him breathe hard. She could see his fingers 
piesang against his forehead and his hair. Neither spoke 

for some seconds. . . , ^^ u. t,.,A 

He had not meant thus to preapitate matters. He had 
not come, indeed, with any formed plan. He had come 
because she had asked him-because, her invita.tion having 
mwle it possible for him to ^o to the house again, he could 
not have kept away. ,. . , 

She did not move or speak. She was standing, he knew, 
bv the hearth, just as she had stood a fortnight ago mthe 
drawing-room, her arm against the mantelpiece. Then 
there had been a fire ; now. the spring having come m earnest 
there was none. She was quite still. She had the gift of 
stillness in a very unusual degree. . . v i, t,ic 

He took his hands from his face and brushed back ha 
hair. He came over to her and stood, too, by the mantel- 

" So you see how it is with me, he said. 



♦i'l 



CHAPTER XVII 

CHE would and she would not. She was Dear Lady 
•■^oK" V "^ ,P*°*°'"^« ^^ of thereabouts who 
Ch^l^v. "t^ Yes," and who "wouldn't say No," and 
Ctastopher, happy and unhappy, unhappy and happy, was 
heard and unanswered. ' 

*/Z 5T ^?»^,**^ enormous had happened-somethiuj; 
itn^f "^ "^"'^ •""• ^*^ ^^^''^'"S thaHTheld, had be^S 
^nri!f ■ J°l her something had happened too, but-^r he 
lanaad so-had happened as accidents happen. For him 

d«H?^T^/^ ^'^T ^^ • ^'" ^^'-^^ here was his 
deadly fear l-from without ? But she did not repulse him 

» V^^'^\^^^^^ to know exactiy how she avoided 
-If she did avoid l-committing herself in words. For she 

P^i^^°"^- ^^^^ °°* *"*"■?* *° *""* h«r ^ he spoke. 
taf^S^h ' ^r *^* '■^ *^** '"°™«''t he could not have 
tn«ted himself even to take her hand. They stood a yard 
and a half apart and looked down, or looked at each other 
from tane to tune, and sometimes for moments together they 
ooked mto each other's eyes. She never tried t. evaded 
look. He could have beheved that, if she did not understand 
she was trying to She had the virginal look at such time^ 

tT^J! h'^u°'^u «**"«'^<Ji'»«y chaiTn. He could have 
thrown himself at her feet as he saw it, and clasped her 
about the knees, hiding his face in her skirt. 

^^ You knew I loved you," he said. 

" I thought you were going to." 

^IZuV^ lu^f^ '*"'* ** ***y I *** y°" »t the station. 
Before that I think myself. Since that, all the time. Some- 
Uung must have reached you from me. That day, the day I 
lust saw yan— weren't you conscious of something ? " 
I ve told you that I >vas." ^ 

" But later. In the night." • 
3" 



Iv 



One of 



it ridiculous— I believe I kept you 



3,a CHRISTOPHER 

She shook her head— and even as she did so, arrested the 
movement. 
" In the night ? " 

She looked at him now as if she saw past hun. 
" I— I do remember," she said. 
" What ? " 

" I couldn't sleep. I always sleep. That's why I remember. 
I couldn't that night. We were at Brussels. I could hear the 
noises m the streets, tut it wasn't that. It was as if I were 
not being aUowed to sleep. As if I were being kept awake. 
How odd that you should ask me about that night, 
the few nuits blanches in my life." 
A glow came into his face. 
" i-^ou'll think '" ~^"' 
awake." 
"You?" 
" I believe so." 
" How could you ? " 
" I was trying to." 

" To keep me awake ? In Brussels ? From here, do you 
mean ? From London ? " 

" From Jermyn Street, to be exact. I had rooms there, then. 
I didn't think distance would make any difference. I didn't 
know where you were. I didn't think that wouW make any 
difference either. I wanted to get a thought through to you, 
whoever you were. It was the only way I could communicate 
with you— if it was a way. I wanted so badly to communicate 
with you, even then. If ' it '—what I told you— was You, 
I thought I shouki get a thought through. I believed that 
by battering you with thoughts— that's the way I expressed 
it to myself, I remember— I might hope to, anyway." He 
faced her steadily, and she as steadily faced him. " Did I ? " 
" I don't know. I think I may have thought of yoa 
But then, you see, I couldn't sleep. It would be probable 
that I should think of all that had happened in the day. One 
does when one is traveUing. The mind's eye is full of 
images then. The odd tUng is that I shoukln't have 
slept . . ." 
" ' Battering ' me with thoughts . . ." she said after a 



CHRISTOPHER 



of such a thing—" possible to be conscious 

She did not finish her sentence. 

You see," he said. 
To him the proof was positive. 

•■iS:SeStre'i?r-^"ffr'^'^r^«'^ 

that the ottTcora w^^ot^.K"! "^"^ ^"^ «««°^ 
He had alwavsToIf ♦w T*""* *° *?!*»' '"^ him. 

It was ataiost what she had said before. 

you^5rrtr'oi'-r***".Ty°"^y'"^««id- •'« 
/LiSuSVor.^-'--f--^r^t 

^ve waite^rL^r-fc^ SS S^ron^S^" 

iSli'r^*^"°"*^''*,?'''^^y°«*^«°dofmywS: 

to taoVlff^ ^°" '"""' '^" """^ ^J'^* " '"'"Id be to me 

S^ did not speak for a moment or two. 
^ Jo« seem so sure that I am the right person." she said 

" I am sure." 

" c " "*'* *"^ ***** ^ "">•" 
,, 1^^ or the right person ? " 

A^ there was a pause. 
Or," she «j^^ " even if I should be, that you are." 



314 



CHRISTOPHER 



It WM 



Ah, Christopher felt, that wm another question, 
also, however, what he wanted to know. 

He had to go without knowing, nevertheless. For now tiie 
door did open, and Mrs. ConsUple, back from her drive, her 
arms full of Uttle dogs, put her head m. f.K^.»„nhpr 

If she thought at aU, she must have thought that Christoi*er 
and Cora were generaUy to be discovered upon opposite swes 
of a hearth, talking or not talking, rather earnestly. 

But it was Don't move, Mr. Heirick, for she was not gomg 
to stop. She wanted to get her hat off, and was late for her 
rest before dinner, and how had the party gone ? 

It had all gone, Christopher said, but hwiself. 

Mrs. Constaple wished she could have been there. 

" And Margot Heccadon ? Did she sing ? " 

" Like an angel," Cora said. 

That was just how Mrs. Heccadon did sing, wasn t it, Mr. 
Herriek? And good-bye to him. He was not to stir. 

She shook up her dogs and disappeared. 

But it was a break, and Christopher felt he must go. 

Cora hadn't answered him. He tried to get back to what 
they had been saying before the interruption, but he could 
not. He believed that Cora tried, too, or that, at any rate, 
she did not try to prevent his doing so. 

" When shall I see you again ?" he said desperately. 

" Sunday ? " 

" I can't wait till Sunday." 

She thought for a moment or two. 
"We're going to parties and things most days. Arent 
you? Don't you go to things? Where are you going to- 

"^&Utopher thought of the Uttle stack of cards on his table. 
He had Ijeen neglecting them. u „ v« a 

" I believe I've got a dance to-night, somewhere. Yes, a 
Lady Something, in Park Street." 

"Lady Rei^te's. We're going there. Do come. Wdl 

yon?" 
" Of course I will.' . , ._ 

"We may be a Uttle late. We're gomg to a concert fast 



CHRISTOPHER 



^Jl^ tned to «y something more, but could not find 

Wo, she had not repulsed him. 

He was in Park Street by a quarter to twelve. 

seemed to^ qdte^i of hif ""^^.: ^"^^ ""«i<= "ever 
He was ^ways^it 11^!^ "•"■• *' *^°''"»8 of floo«. 
houses, and ri;^uT^r^T'*'^^ "*"*-"? ''^'"^•^ 
slow ascent of^^Jed^tr^'aifbT' '"^•"«^ 
and shaking hands witt a ti^'„H v^"* announced, 

tall ivy w;^athsor r^wL^ fS,t ^'^T"t• '"'' *^° 
was bfiinnirurl =„/ ^V**">s— (the reign of the tall girl 

CbTd o7Se~ie^"i nT "^^r^^^^d "'o«s, whfi; 
ta his ear, aU dayr,^ aZ^^^ ^^^ *"°*^ ""^'^ P»ked 
face amon^ Z fa^ ^^ ''' ^^ "^^'^^ ^^'^ fo' one 
evitably,X«em^'Th^ ^f^^' *™"*^' ^d, in- 

bai'-dandng • ^*^ '""* *'«' '^''3^ "^ Christopher's 

th^Sit:is:'id^r^ring^^tfd '^lt'^' '^ -^ 

dancing, and eatiiTor n^f^ ' ^^ ^^"^' o'' »«♦ 

early peach and th^^cejf fct'^S^!!^ h'^*-*!^^ 
always to be enina «« .«„ u ""awoerry— so he seemed 

ooXS L^^° Tls'^V'*' *^ T'^^y similar 

enjoyed,orthouJSh^en£vI^1t Th^^'''^'^*^"'' "^ """ 
In- He looked i,Tv.r*K^ "® '^^ '^a^e tumbling 

the use of SchT^S^t 7J° """^ '^^'^'^ «*«*«' »y 
Cora rwL^ *"* "*^ °r not draw the siifht nf 

X S 'LriiT^r of ir ""' ^' °^ ^^^-^^ -* 

the same dbe^LT^ *T ^''*'"°«* take them in 



i h 



316 



CHRISTOPHER 



She had not aMwwed him. He conH •e.roely h^ 
told how it came that the had not answered him. She 
had never definitely refused to answer him, and she never 
repulsed him. She always heard him— heard him gladly 
even. She always seemed glad to see him, and she would 
always dance with him. Whoever went without dancw, 
it was never Christopher. In his utmost jealousy he could 
never say that she refused him what she gave to others. 
She caUed him Christopher, and he called her Cora. But she 
just did not answer. 

So things went on, Christopher doing no work, nor at- 
tempting to do any. His ink-bottle would lose its power of 
speech altogether, if he was not careful. His days hke 
hw nights were full. There were a hundred pleasant b«t 
always disappomting) calls upon his time. He idled with 
the idlest— spent mornings and afternoons domg nothmg. 
Riding in the Park in the afternoon was going out then, but— 
the motor not come yet to rout the horses^-all who had 
carriages drove there in those days. You hung over the 
laiUngs and you took off your hat. 

Christopher would watch for one carriage amongst the 
carriages, which were so thick on the drive that you could 
have crossed it, walking upon the backs of the horses. Every 
now and then the procession would be held up, and accumu- 
Utions of people afoot would get from one side of the road 
to the other. Or a more distinguished sort of holding-up 
would be observed, and there would be a fluttw, and a 
mounted poUceman would appear, heralding the dnvmg of 
the Queen herself , or the Princess of Wales. But it was not 
a royal carriage which Christopher watched for. 

He would see it and lose it again in the throng. Some- 
times he would be seen by one or other of its occupante, 
and he would get a cordial nod and smUe ; or perhaps he 
would be beckoned to, and would be picked up and driven, too, 
sittin" opposite to Cora, if possible, and remembering always 
(with the knowledge hugged tight that he oouki caU h« 
Cora I) to address her as Miss St. Jemiswi. Or he would see 
the carriage draw up near the AchiUes statne. and Bits. 



CHRISTOPHER 



dW HM^nj!* ^' ^^'^ ''""y*"« off to d««s for 

^- i.'iSf^ss'thU'"' •"-««-'- Hgo„.s: 

or " I'D gend vomw H^'^Tv J^ *? Christopher Heirick," 
ChStSr^S'.SirL^!- -- "- 0-; and 



^1 



CHAPTER XVIII 

BUT though the days went by and Cora kept him marking 
time, Christopher, to his continued surprise, did not 
for a moment lose the feeUng that things were still moving 
for him, and even moving quickly. It was a Uttle disturbing 
this feeling, for so far as he could see, nothing was moving at 
aU, except the days, which were hurrying him towanu 
Whitsuntide. It was quite suddenly, one day, that he knew 
that it was towards thii very period— the time dedicated by 
one body of people to hoUday-making, and by another to a 
commemoration of the outpouring of the Spirit of God upon 
a handful of men in Judsea, causing them to speak with 
tongues and to prophesy— that he and his affairs were betng 
hurried with the days. . 

Something would happen then. He was sure of it— knew 
it; but there he paused. Why he should look to Whitsuntide 
for issues, unless that, making a break in the succession of 
the crowded days, it might be expected to break the continuity 
of other things also, he knew no more than h? knew what it 
was that was to happen. Something, however— of this he was 
persuaded ; and with curious emotions, from which appre- 
hension was not wholly absent, he saw the approach of the 
few days which would separate him from Cora. 

To the recess itself he had, in any case, been looking for- 
ward with mixed feelings of reUef and regret. The strain of 
uncertainty was beginning to teU on him. He would not have 
admitted that he was tired, but he hoped in his heart, rather 
fervently, that it was that only— just rest that he wanted; 
and, more fervently still, he hoped that Cora wanted rest. 

For surely there was something strange about Cora just 
then. Was there any change in her ?— any change, however 
impalpable ? He could point to none. She was always de- 
318 



CHi.ISTOFHBR 



"minded, by «oin7little 1^ n* ^ ^^* '"^ '»^™«M 
which he had^ wLn h' i"-?'?'«-o'thete^^ 

memorable meeS In sL^e |!^ t**^, ''•' *"« *hS 

nothing but nervM ' " ""^ """'«• »' «»»«. 

of h« own movements must be tawl^ fU? f .^'i:?*"? 

he was expected at HerridWood i ^„«. T ***■ "'•'"«'' 

idea that perhaps it wm imSf K Z °^^ " '**? *° «» 

they wenTwhiS seTmeTt^r^H^ v*^ P"*""' ^^^t^^*' 

there should be^SosSon-^h ^ 'fj* ^'"" ^- *•>»* 
tool *P^*'°"-w«t he should go to Harrogate 

inS:£?So!5™«l"«*°Cora -homherantoear^ 
her from L. SSSjle '^ "' '"*°"«*^ *" 'l^*'^ 

o^St^^h- SeS -;r- "" - -- 

beg^reyt^hSl ^'7f 7 had'^'^f .^*? ^^ ' " '^ 
•Aeeks, as he didso^«J I *^ P"* '^ '»»"«'s to his 
glowing sometimes, he would have found them 

„„;?" often walk with me. You're walking with me 
All the walks that he had ever taC rose before him. He 



3ao CHRISTOPHER 

had a visiou of goTBe and bi«)m and heather; ^^^ 
and woods ; of mossy hollows and lonely Pl««» i «* *^™*™ 
and night-falls and nights: of ploughed fields and fields rf com. 
of sSght avennes of trees, long white roads, roads hke 
white ribands winding tiuongh a vaUey or over hills, roads 
like the beds of streams. 
" We're going to walk." he said. 
" Oh 1 " said Cora. 
" Walk," he repeated. 

" Where ? " , . ,* , 

"We'll find walks. Where is there that one conldnt? 
I've found walks in the BUck Country. I «™'«l**^» ^* 
to a boy I was at school with, who Uved m the heart .it. 
•mere w^as a black canal, with "ack 'nud °n the tow^ paft. 
and tunnels-such wonderful tunnels. Oh, there U be walks, 
right enough, where I mean. Cora, we're gomg for such 
walks I " ' 

" Where do you mean ? " she said. But she caught some- 
thinTS the gliw of his ardour. "I should like to waUcvnth 
toT I believe you're one of the few people one couki walk 
with Yes. I'm quite sure I could walk with you. 

" Listen thenii'm coming to Harrogate. I «f '» "^"^ 
why I didn't think of it before. To another hotel of course, 
but we'U spend long days together. It's there we're gomg to 
KeS my<^Mthinkofit? It'sanas^.^^ 
winking. I've only to write for a room spmewhwe, and Ae« 
Zewewith the world before us. Three whole days. Think. 

Three whole days 1 " 

Cora had turned startled eyes on him. t,^^„u 

"But, Christopher, you can't," she said, as soon as she could 
get in a word. " You can't possibly." 

" Why not ? " 

" It's out of the question." 

".?SI of fte" question," she repeated. One might have 

supposed her taken aback-without ^'^^y\^^ ^^ 

"^ Cora, it iai't. I might have been gomg there, 

"J^imight.butyou weren't. You were going to Herricks- 



CHRISTOPHER 



3ai 



And— and you target; 



wod. Why shonld yon chance ? 

my father's there." - . 

of the suitor, which he was for ^^i. ^ *?* ***"*=*«'■ 

sr-iShrKH->^^^^ 

the knowlSe ZTk^ZeZt^lJ^'^^J^ "^ 
parts of Enghnd. each of Xm St^^ ^a^n'^rh 
^r^^ns Which varied, dai. the%ht t EatWt 

"I.know."hesaid. 

£|r^x?-vSr.-wSTwrr^r.- 

noi'n^'^?""**'"'^' He „.ust be told some time. Why 
^^he knew how much he wished this. But she shook her 

S ^h"!"?^ ."'■ ^'"^ *** *e knew. 

..' M ^.'*'!'*' ^^^^ *^^«> »P together ! " 

toHe^cI^o<S' '^'- ""' «'"'"^'*' '- y-'- going 
" Not unless you say so." 
He wasn't sure even yet. 
" I do say so. You're going to Herrickswood." 



CHRISTOPHER 




OT otter, Sd not .rish him to go to Harrogate. 

It was not to be Harrogate then? If « .^f *^J?fe 
relent His faith unshaken, though tas spints damped, he 

'"^Iw^^ch ended the first half of tte season was a 

&€:i^.^teSisrcrr^^5 

STment even-M^c ••^^^t^y'^^cL^t^SS 

^"l-^^i^^a'Saf w21iSKS.ra"by rows'and 
standing m a aoorway, waa "" _^ nii«.n Street was 

rwn°i£^^^SmTS=-a?f::iS^^^^ 

SaSL ^2o3;»y tr"Son::^yed^S aSt 

?L\t'eTS ttln,t'addition'to gi^ himno s^. was 
one of thoTwhich to Christopher county f«r lo^ 

Nor was the next nor the next any better. EacU «» i™'" 
heS a^ it b true, but a Cora who gave no sign, and each 
of them somehow held Heccadon. . . . 

U it was to be anywhere it was plainly to be Hemcks- 
If rt ''a^'^'' "J~i.^_,-od while Cora journeyed to 

expectant way. j y^ than the' 

Nothing could have been Dener 

mmmm 



CHRISTOPHER 3,3 

SlJirr^"^ ?*^ •"* '^ ^ grandmother, he was 
kqrt talkmg and Ustening at a time when it was the b^ 
thing m the world for him to have to do both. 

., yi"?"^ Mything happen at Herrickswood ? It seemed 
inWcely But he was glad he had come. HisgrandSS 
;??*i/° J'**' 0* Ws doings, and seemed pk^K^ Sw 
of the hfe he was leading. She had plenty tol^ 

nc« Ji^t' *®°*i° ^""^ °™« *° *'"' or three People. A word's 
^^he^ and there, though things a,«Tp,etty rS 
^ang«l. I fanqr. smce my day. Half the people you sue^ 

I'wJs'^i^i^'th"'- "^^ jfT*'' --- I «^^ 
ane was plam Mrs. then, and he had as much chani* nf = 

peer^ as his butler. The What's-their-nZt-S.rf%: 

still tafang daughters out ? You don't tell me so^ fhl 

youngest must be an old woman. Tie OaW^ ^U vou 

K n .?u ^5^"«'*'"dge-niarried her cousin. There was a 
JS^k^rJ*"'"""^''''""- Were you the^PAn^y 

til^^f^^''^^'^'^- Tl^^alifethatcameinto 
k^™^ ^*^-,^°"'^''"'^''P^«Jto'eadit. She had 

known everyone of miportance in her own day, and had kn 
arrogant contempt for the new names. y. ana nad an 

She Aook her head over a few of those she heard now 
I should hke, with a blue pencil, to go through a list of 

to ™ tl^L'^r ^-^^ ^^"' ^* SV5; 

•?Ti, ^ * * *°*^ *** ''•"e pencil." ^ 

These are demi— demicratic days, you see " said An»hpi 

Mrs. Herrick smiled too. 
y.^^ZTio'l'iliT^^^-''''^- You've hit half 
She pinched Fatima's cheek and returned to her argmnent. 

to te LS W ^^- •'"t T" "^y '^'^ there's somettiS 
to be said for a woman who keeps up the traditions. Ifm«f 



3,4 CHRISTOPHER 

neoDle had reftised to open their doo« so tadecwtly wide, 
ff we^srfto«n sJdety, and now don't call anytog 
Tl wo^'t be in the v^ state-whlch is the nch rtate 
SaSeTlftat it's in now. It isn't hard to see h^t^^; 
S^ tendiij^ People used to be in the world or o«rt M rt. 
^n ft«l'U be » many people in it, that there won t be 

^ teft to be out of it : and that wiU be tlje end of everything. 

GototheClaverhouseswhentheyaskyou. 
" They didn't ask me," said Christopher modestly. 
" Oh weU, they will another time. I can proimse you 

that Go to ihat ^ of house, and never mind your Reigat^ 

^d MaSladarenes. Both houses are open to _you, but not 

auite at the same time. Youll have to choose. 

^ttetopher listened. He knew that tte condito^ 

which hisVndmother's V^'^'^y ^^^1^^ 
The vision of Peter-reversed perhaps-tad been seen 

""^I'm not at all sure that Margaret Constaple's tiie best 
Child'^G^de for you, t^iough I don't forget««t rt was I 
Snxiuced you to her. ^ She's too much mfected witt ttc 
mo^rn spirit ... was always ready to tak^whats tte 
rirt^eT-^raldine anywhere wh«e ftere was a ^^e 
^a cutlet, and I hear she's taking out St 3^^f<^^ 
this year. Why can't the woman sit stiU? Whatss*«hke, 

by the way ? " 

;™VSVwas this the begimiing? He looked 
up^Wa^t^^Tdborrowedaphrasefrom Jta r^^a^. 
He had not thought to hear himself asked to d^^e Cora, and 
was not prepared. Shewasverj nuch admired Jie said. 

" So ^ ter mother." said tht old lady gnmly. 

But Christopher saw that this was not to prove, or even 
le^ to. STtJhich he awaited. There was^"*^ ^* 
promis; or warning in the moment, and he l^^'^^'^ »e^- 

"Admired, is she?" said his _ grandmother meanwhile. 
"Pretty? Well, she'll need to be." 

" Why?" said Fatima, who wanted to know. 

" Because ! " said her grandmother-in-law oracularly. 
But Christopher, assured that this vaa in no way connected 



CHRISTOPHER 3,5 

)!!*i''ilf *u^ *^'*^* °* *° "™»«" *• " "oinentous," was not 
to be trightened by the prospect of a potential tussle. He 
knew his grandmother, and knew that a tnssle of some sort 
must be ej^xicted. So when she went back to the subject, 
as she did presently, Fatima not being by, he did not attach 
too much miportance to what she said. She talked more of 
Mrs. Constaples mabiUty to stay quieUy at home, than 
oJ the girl the chaperoning of whom was designed to 
cover it. — e^v^ 

" Shell die in harness," she said. " She rackets about from 
^llar to post from morakg till night. Always did. She'd 
dine m the refreshment room at a railway station, I believe 
rather than eat a meal at home. But she's a clever woman' 
m her silly way. She married her own girl very well with 
nothing particular to recommend her-everythine coes to 
the sons in that family-and I daie say she'll mMry the St 
Jenuson g^l. He'U be a brave man for all that, Christopher" 
who mames her mother's daughter." ' 

Christopher would have heard tl.is with difficulty from 
aunyone else, but, coming from his grandmother, it was ilowed 
to pass ; as was the warning it contained, if, indeed it 
contamed one. He did not even say, " But she can't be 
n^onaible for her mother"; nor his grandmother the 

S^? *^ ***•* ^^^ *« "'O"'** then probably have 
rqplwd The pomt is, that what wiU always be remem- 
^rffa not so much that, as that her mother is responsible 

So the matter dropped. 

The next day was Sunday. Would it be then ? 

He woke to a sense of disappointment. Yet he had known 

i!!!?f* ^ ^^ *""^° •**°'^« starting (as he had done) 
or posted a letter at some station on her way North it wm 
impossible that anything could reach him that morning. 
Why, then, did he look for what was not there ? It was some 
sort of solace to hun to think of her as receiving and readine 
a letter from him. 

His grandmother did not go to church that morning but 
when he and Fatima got back from their walk to thTvllage, 



3,6 CHRISTOPHER 

they f oond her in her pony-chair, waiting lor them on the 

*^^lwant yon, Christopher. Yes, Ancebel can come too if 
die caJTto Go on, Fi^erick " (to the gioom at the pony's 
S^^rndbyttelakeandthekemiels. I've been dou« 
some planting, and I want to show you." 

They started on a tour o! inspection. 

She had done considerable planting. ^^ 

kril';:bS^^ofSr^rrwan.andwasrepairing 

■ her gates. ,, 

" Now the new cottages. 
" Very good 'm." 
" New cottages ? " said Christopher. 

"m^fdS^' £J1"difficnlty about housing tte m«i 
on the estate-the labourers, woodmen, hedgers '"id ditehe^ 
^^ forth. There are practically no cottages to be had 
^urherT We've always had bothers about this-«vM m 
^^gSfalr's time,^;hen men bought ^^^^ 
SnoS^ofwalkingamileortwototheirworfc WeU.Id.dnt 

see why you should." 
" I. Grandmother ? " , .„. „ 

" Anything that's done now is done for yon, my dear. 
He Wieved now t^t it was beginning indeed. 

He was sitting with her the next evening «> •»« "t**??- 
ro^. ^ttaaaSd her governess had just retired for the m^. 
^^e two were alone. She had folded up her ««* j^d^^ 
J^y to make a move, but had not moved ; and Christopher 
beUeved that she had sometiiing to say ,, 

" You'U be wanting to marry one of tiiese days, was wnai 
she said when she spoke, and Christopher gave a Uttie gasp 
Zi knew tiiat he was to know at last wU *« days had held 
foThim. She was looking at tiie work which *« held on h« 
EeTand did not see tiie face which he turned towai^ to. 
aed^d not look at him. indeed, for a moment or two^but 
Sttoue^ to gaze at her worsteds. proddingth<«. absent^ 
S TebonP^edk. and busy, it was evHlent. witii her 



CHRISTOPHER 



327 



thoughts. " There was a time when I should have cried out 
at the suggestion of an early marriage for any young man 
wiui his way to make. But one lives and imleams one's 
first wisdom. I needn't tell you that I've been thinking of 
Stephen. He's never out of my thoughts for very long. I've 
thought of all that we may have done, or left undone, in his 
case. Well, he thought himself in love when he was younger 
than you are, and he wanted to many. Periiaps, if his father 
and I had not objected so successfully, tilings might not have 
turned out for him quite as they did. We had nothing 
against the girl. Our objection was that he was a boy. Who 
knows ? He may have known what he needed — as the dog 
that eats grass. I'm not likening you to him. You're very 
different from my poor good-for-nothing. You've outlets 
that he hadn't. I can understand that. But you're flesh 
and blood, and I'm old enough, and have been young enough, 
to know what those stand for, and I don't want you to suffer 
unnecessarily." 

She looked up now. 

" Have you anyone in your mind ? " she said. 

The question was ihot at him. It took him unawares, and 
so, though he did not answer it, practically the question was 
not unanswered. 

" I see. You don't choose to tell me." 

" I can't. Grandmother. If I might choose, I should tell 
yon this moment. And," he smiled, " I don't know that I 
have anything to tell." 

" WeU, if she's decent " 

" Grandmother I " 

" If she's decent — I'll stick to my word, if you please " 

She was trying him with it he saw. 

" WeU-bom " 

He made no sign. 

" WeU-bied " 

He managed to preserve his silence. 

" The right wife for you, the wife we should wish for you, 
the wife yon should wish for yourself" — she tried him 
with each of these — "if she's all this, here's something 
that you can bear in mind." 



3«8 



CHRISTOPHER 



He kuwd ionnid a UtOe, wondering what was caaiiiid. 

" My time now may be Aort, or it may be— not long, but 
pndonged. Whichever it may please God to make it. I don t 
intend my thoea to stand to you, Christopher, for dead men s. 
You're coming into Herrickswood one day, as you know. 
That's no reason, as I see things, why you should spend the 
best years of your life waiting. So, other things being eqwl— 
but being equal, mind I— your marriage need not depend on 
my death. If you can satisfy me on certain general points— 
or she can, whoever she is !— it shaU be made possible for 
you to marry whenever you want to. There 1 I don't want 
any thanks, dear. It's the purest selfishness. Idontpretaid 
—to myself, even- that it's anything else. Ring that bdl 
for me— twice, please, for OUenshaw— and now good night 
to you." 

She paused at the door. 

" You're off to-morrow, 1 suppose ? " 

" But not in the morning." 

" Wen, I mustn't keep you from her." 

" You're so certain there's someone." 

" If there isn't, there ought to be. But quite certam, 
Christopher. I wish I was as ce/tain that I should like her." 

"If there should be anyone— I'm not free to tell you. 
Grandmother, even if I knew— you wouW like her. You 
wouldn't be able to help liking her." 

He wanted to say more but might not ; nor was he qmte 
sure that it would have been the r^ht moment to say more. 

She kissed him. was met by her elderly maid at the foot of 
the stairs, and went up to bed. 

This was one of the moments when Christopher felt breath- 
less. He tost sight of all misgiving in the joy of tilery's 
most wonderful bounty. A letter, moreover, on the Whit- 
Monday, as upon that Easter Sunday which he would always 
remember, was in the pocket over his heart. A day had 
withheld, it seemed, that a day might give the more Uvishly. 

This, then, was why he had not been allowed to go to 
Harrogate 1 He had come to Herrickswood that he might 
hear what he had just heard. Cora, unconscious agent 



CHRISTOPHER 3,5 

of tlw powm wUdi watched over him, IumI sent him from 
her that he mig^t be bron^t the more swely to her. For 
nowhecoold go to her and ask for her anawer. Now nothing 
hindered. By that time to-morrow Cora would be engaged 
to him. A few hours more, just a few hom« more. . . 



CHAPTER XIX 

HE himseU was infected now with the spirit of haste 
bv which he conceived the movement of his afia^ *» 
be inspSLl a^. though he had spoken of an afternoon train. 
^ 3 baik to London by a morning one. His grandmother. 
S taS^^stances Us mother before lier made no 
^n,mJ^ She saw him go, if not unregretfully at least 
SSy. aSXd fte Westing Fatima upon her Uck 
of a similar ability to take tlungs as they came. 

" It's taking things as they go. I thmk. said f atuna. 
..He^^jlSt^r luncheon! He was to have ^e for a nde 
this morning. And he «oes and leaves before ten I Hes 

'^^'^Se^S S S^^'^^^S to you. my dear. A 
perso^'^-r go'way fro^ you if he Wt ^n -* you 
" Oh, for two or three days-hke this. Can t men ever 

be contented ? Cant you ever ^^.f^^^^l grand- 
"Only by letting them go," said Christophers grana 

mother. 

The subject of their di«=^<»'v'»<^^^!Cta o^S 
hurried bade to London as fast as the <f d«st toln^ J 
day could take him. He had bought an A B C at thestation 
S S he studied when he was not «ttmg forwad m b 
s^t as if to urge the train on, or moving restiessly in to 
«mp^ent,^hich happily hdd no one bj^^^^^-^^S 
Z^M not have borne, iust then, the P^°"*^ ^^ 
^vellers He looked out of the windows. The ttam mum 
^^JoTuicMy enough for him. He urged it onward and on- 
S!^5tery ttoe that he related his muscles, he came 

-rwS^rrSl?rU that evemng^.- 
he was to join Mrs. Constaple m her box. but he was im 
33° 



CHRISTOPHER 33, 

patient o< even ao much delay, and he had detennined to meet 
all the afternoon tiains in from Harrogate on the chance of 
finding her in one of them. There was more than one route 
open to her, but she had travelled up by the Midland line, 
he knew, and he thought it probable that she would come 
back the same way. Arrived at Victoria then, he sent his 
luggage on to Qoisters Street, and made for St. Pancras. 

One train he had missed, but as this one started very early 
it was unlikely that she had come by it. He had time for 
some lunch before the next. He ate standing, and was on 
the platform twenty minutes before it was due. 

It came in bravely. He watched it forge its way towards 
him to its appointed place. In a moment it had thrown open 
its doors and was diverging its passengers. 

Christopher, peering into every carriage, walked the length 
of it. He doubled back, raked the crowd with eager eyes, 
inserted himself into the groups gathering about the luggage 
vans, saw every soul leave the train. 

There was an interval of two hours before the next, but 
that did not daunt him. He could always interest himself 
in streets, and he explored the neighbourhood— southward 
as far as Clerkenwell Green, passing, and pausing in front of 
the old Sadler's Wells Theatre, whither, in the days of it, 
all London had journeyed to see the actor of the moment ; 
northward, past the Angel, into Islington ; thence, by Copen- 
hagen Street and Caledonian Road, back through Penton- 
ville. 

He was at the station again half an hour too soon. 

He saw his second train in. But neither was Cora in this. 
As before, he searched from end to end, and from the fiist 
opening of the doors to the moment when the porters collected 
the newspapers. It was possible, of course, that in the 
crowd he might have overlooked her, but he did not think 
that he had done so, and he set himself to wait for the next. 
The third train that he met would bring her. 

He set his face towards the thitd train. 

The last of the passengers, those who had been last in 
finding their higgage, or in securing porters, or who, for 



CHRISTOPHBR 



33* 

wb,.t other cante tUt may ddty the efriving tr»v^. hed 
SS£;.nr.l«vtaJthe0j«on». Chrirtoph*^ 

SS« thT i;ro«irioa of these, b«*n« •'^^"'»*«^ 
Ir^ MBM^tt them which wM funlltar to hta. He kM^ 

^Sf^^^^eU-buUt form. ?«>"«? "^.^'^^J^ 
Sve Krttoto wonU.hewtahed that the mtnto tomt ol him 
hLi been any other in the world than Hece«km. 

But he would not let the chance •««»»» "^J^ >»"•£? 
Wm What wa» he to-Heccadon. or Heceadon to him. 
STt^Sul^dW. existence riu«ddthr«tenev.ntod^^ 
to«dSr? The thing ihould notbe He wooW not 
Z,MS«Xthehadputre«)lutelyfcomhlm. With Cora* 
SSTo^ hta^ he%««ld not ! WiU» what he had to 
Si hTburntag within him to be tdd. ^J"'^'^' 
i»Brvttln« w^Tbringing him to Cora; everything bringing 
S[ffi.^oS!Lld dash his hope. In the« diarged 

"^e'^Sf^eSn grt into hi. waiting hansom and drive 

**He drew a long breath. That was over. He pushed it 
frmnhim. . . • 

Hisexdtementincre^^inow. W«^*£°?t*l!S 
it, a wispicion. a deadly fear . . . something that he wouM 

""kSTlIe hated this man I He did not know ttat he lj««l 
ev«Tated anyone as he hated him. He did njrt 1cno*t^ 
^ted anyone else at aU. But. again, away with all thought 
oihim! 

This was the shortest of the three waits ; he found it the 
lo^t. Strive as he would, he could not keep the though 
TZmm whoUy out ol his mind. Why. on this day oi aU 
iS^^Hwc^n obtrude himseli upon his consciousness ? 
S'lSomt^cal face, and ,the strong^P^fi^ 
forced themselves upon his recoUection. S<methmg ttat 
^hads^of himVtoo, would not be forgotten. He W 
SCwn^^e ""olnent who it was that she was speataag 



CHRISTOPHER 333 

of, bat he had known that, even in hit ignorance, her words 
had the power to hart him. What she had laid was true 
in its hotritde way. If Christopher, who hated Heccadon, 
coold bdieve that it wu true, it most be. Heccadon was the 
mora daniperoos. 

He ooold not fill up the interval between the trains t He 
walked away from the station, and, unable to trust himself 
out of sight of it, or to trust it out of his dght, was back at 
ito gates in half an hour. He started out afresh, and again 
returned, like the dove to the ark. He, too, could find else- 
whera no rest for the sole of his foot. So, chafing, he counted 
the minutes. Before, he had enjoyed the suspense of the 
waiting. Now waiting seemed intolerable. 

The counted minutes dragged by. Presently he learned 
that the train would even be late. He questioned the porters, 
who began now to be aware of him, and to comment upon 
him amongst themselves. 

The tnUn was a quarter of an hour oveidue when at last 
it came in. But it brought Cora. The carriage which 
heki her stopped ahnost opposite to where he was 
standing. 

He saw her before she saw him. She was scanning the 
people on the platform, ahnost, he thought, as if she had 
expected that there might be someone to meet her. Well, 
there was. He slipped over to her, and appeared to her— 
saw himaelf appear to her— as she twice had appeared to him, 
suddenly, but gradually also. 

She looked for a moment as if she doubted her eyes. 

" Christopher ? " she said. " You ? "—as if she might be 
saying, " Are you sure ? " and then smiled. 

" You came up out of the ground," she said. She seemed 
to be explaining. 

" I thought I'd meet yon. I was sure you'd come by this 
tiafa," 

" I nearly didn't," she said, but he became conscious at this 
m<nnent of the presence of her maid in the carriage behind 
her, and he did not, at the time, notice these words as they 
fell from her. He helped her to alight, and waited to speak 
again till her maid should be gone for her luggage. 



334 CHRISTOPHER 

Cora foltowing her with her eyes, outstripped her, aad 
th^ looked «l«ai the platform in the other dirertiop This 
he did notice, without attaching any significance tort. 

" I couldn't wait till to-night," he was saying. ' 1 wanted 
to see you so desperately, and I've something to teU you. 
Something's happened." 

Her eves came back to mm at that. 

" Oh, nothing bad. Something that may be very good 
that may make a difference. Cora, are you glad to s^ me ? 
It's thi4 days-^nore than three days amce we saw «A 
other. I don't know, now that I see you agaui. how I ve 

got through them." 

Her eyes were not wandering now. ^ 

" There hasn't been a moment in them when you ve been 
out of my thoughts." 

" What have you to tell me ? she said. 

" I can't tell you here. We can't talk in this crowd. I 
foiKot about your maid. « I thought I'd drive you to Grosve- 
n^St««t or anyway drive with you part of the way. 
Y«,1^tJ'sXeLt I must do. i'm going to teU your 
maid to follow with your things." 

He did not wait for permission, but was hurrymg away 

when she called him. . „ . i^ j 

■^tey," she said. " I'll speak to her." But she seemed 

^"•^iJ^^Constaple wouMn't mind ? You're not thinking ol 

*^*0h, she wouldn't mind. I s»«>'^d P^'ba^l?' *^ *!? £^„„ 
" What is it, then ? Is it ? " he looked m the direction 

of her maid. " Isn't she to be trusted ? " 
"Rodson? Oh, she's all right." 
" Then tell her. I'll get a hansom." 
Cora looked up and down the platform agam. 
" Very well," she said, after a moment. 

When she joined him, a couple of minutes later, all trace 

of hesitation had vanished. . , . it,. 

TS^P>t into the hansom, and he gave the dnver the 

address. 



CHRISTOPHER 335 

Now was his waiting rewarded I Now might time be 
stayed I Now might distance prolong itself I 

" Oh Cora I " he said, when at last he found himself alone 
with her. " Oh Cora . . ." 

Her hand was lying in her lap. He put his hand over it. 
She did not draw it away. 
" Do jrou care so much ? " she said. 
" More than I can tell you. More than you could know 
if I were able to tell you. I've never been quite alone with 
you before. I've never been so near to you before. Have 
you seen how I've kept myself from you ? I've never held 
your hand as I'm holding it now. Thei« have been times 
when I could have cried out . . ." 

He broke off, and looked from the hand which he clasped 
in his to her face. 

" I've never kissed you," he said. 

There were tears in his eyes. 

They drove for some yards in silence. They were out of 
the open road now, and in the noise of streets. Here every 
second house was a boarding-house. Through dining-room 
windows you might see dreary tables laid for dinner. Chris- 
topher saw that they were drwry and looked away from them 
quickly. 

Cora laid her other hand for one moment on his hand. 

" Oh, I wish " she began, but she did not say what it 

was that she wished. 

He remembered her action and her words afterwards. 

" / wish," was what he said then. 

" Yes, Christopher ? " 

It was so wonderful when she called him by his name. 

" That I could be sure of somethinf." 

" Say it." 

" You've never told me that you care for me. Never in 
WOTds. Can you, Cora ? Oh, if I could make you know." 

" You do make me know. That's it. You make me know 
so extraordinarily. If you were like other people I should 
know what to say to you. I'm half afraid of yon." 

"Afraid of me?" 

" Because I'm not a bit what you think me," 



CHRISTOPHER 



336 

self— not me at all." 

" How can that be ? " 

" I don't know. It just is." said Cora. 

A few nK,« of the p^^us X'J^^- J^T^fs^^ed 

to'h^irsi^SrSi wt^t had bought hi. to 

"iJe'^id her of the talk with his grandmother. Wonis 

tHSj^*t^ves«pon^^^^,h««^™-^ ^ 

"She promises me Hemckswooa, as »««, 
me that I needn't wait." 

^g^ust then, appeared to be movmg for hun. „ 

^=m going to teU him to drive round by Park Lane. 
Christopher said shortly. . , _ ^^ ,_. .. 

" Rodson will be home before we we _ 

"I can't help that. I'm gomg to tell hmi. 

" Very well," said Cora as before. 

He gave his directions through the trap. 

TT„,y had ten minutes more. Christopher was 

sa^^^cr£ytcSfS^"'^^-5rs-- 

*Tthe"oomer of Wood Street Cora was gaining time with, 
" Should I be here if I didn't ? " 

p4 of the traffic was held «P ^-^^^^^tt cS^ 
f^^cnpant a man, mr^-^^^i ^2^.' But it 
r^^^^:'^lS':in^^tk.a^.to Christopher's 
Zl^t^ed on her. choking with pa^on. 

"i«eople look at you," he said in a strangled vo.ce. Men 

in the street— and you let them. 



CHRISTOPHER 33^ 

" How can 1 prevent them ? " 

"You don't want to prevent them. You want them to 
look at you. Yon mean them to look at you." 

Something in the words as he spoke them arrested him. 
Recently quite, quite recently, he had heard words like 
T^xJ" t'°T'** *^ Heccadon's rag of a face had 
risen before hrni, but its eyes were burning now with accusmg 
firw, and he heard, not a sweet, husky voice singing love srogT 
but a voice strangled like his own, made husky, made dreadfal 
with passion. <=«uui 

"Heccadon," he heard himself saying, "Heccadon!" 
and saw her look at him. But he saw more than this and 
heard more than his own voice and the husky voice of the 

For without warning (though presaged by who should 
say what processes of unconscious thought, what things 
noted Md unnoted, what misgivings and apprehensioMMd 
doubts ?), the gates had been roUed back, and there was again 
for him one of those sudden open hours such as, on the night 
following his first vision of Cora, had laid bare to him aU 
that was happening in monstrous London-one of the open 
hours in which, sight and hearing miraculously cleared he 
knew that he saw and heard true ! Through a mist as it were 
or as in a glass darkly, he now saw Cora searching the plat' 
form as he himself had searched it, and saw again her look 
of surprise as her doubting eyes realised firet his presence 
and then his identity ; perceived her hesitation, heaixl the 
ftree words which, fallmg from her, had at the time escaped 
hM notice. And, his eyes and ears opened, that seeing he 
Should see and understand, and hearing he should hear and 
mterpret, he saw his mother, and knew why he could not 
see Cora beside her ; saw his grandmother and heard, as if 
for tte first time, her proviso with her promise— even to the 
word which she used and chose to stick to. " If she's " 
He had shut his ears to it then. " If she's ..." And she 
Mwan't I In this most terrible <rf " open " moments he knew 
that she wasn't. 

" Heccadon's been at Harrogate," he said, " —Heccadon ' 
That s why you wouldn't let me go there with you. I met 



CHRISTOPHER 



338 

thms tralM to^y ^ the si^t ol yon. ««* I «w hto at 
SHtS X'^nmsed the one he c«ne by « Ij^ 
i«le\eenvou together. Heccadon. Heccadon. Hwxa^n. 
"•u^CT^ow. that he c»«M not^ve ^^^ 
-fc-L h* loved for Heccadon whom he hated ! He MMtea 
S?it as h^tl done before, and. the unpulae «^^d^ 
S5s hto. her stillness perhaps restraining him. sank 
ba«i as before into his seat. v^tv^^Unen 

^ made no attempt to deny wUt he said. b«t^««^ 
wwnot the sUence of one who disdams to "^^-J^ 
Xi?ted. without anger because without '^^^^ 
ItoMne b;canse-he saw it now-«he was without love for 

"^He's not worth your Uttle finger." she sjid Pre««tiy«d 
very J^S. " «ot fit to black your boote for you I toow 
27t But he's-weU. he's himself, and I'm myself, and we 

"^a ^e^S'^ything." said Christopher. " «cept 
that you seem to be telling me that yo««.««>*-"°* Jj^' 
He tLsed over what he could not aUow hmiself <°^2 
Slt^as telling hhn. " Is that what you mean to tell me 
—what you mean me to understand ? . „ _. ^^^^ 
" It's better that you should understand. I m not. ChrB- 
topher." Again by the use of his name she wrung his heart. 
" I^dwTknown that I wasn't. I've waited tothuJc 
that I was. that's all. And neither are you meant for me. 
You've something-some odd power. You got your mese«g6 
through to me-^hatever it was-to Brussels so 5«« mmt 
SSTsut if he caned to me .. .1 Don't be f^ ^ 
won't, and I shouUn't lose my head if he ^. I ^ bom 
Liter, you see. than poor mother. But if he did . . . 

a^ dosed her ejr« for a moment and lay back m the 
hansom. She said all this without shame. There was some- 
thing that was not ignoble in her frankness. 

" Mrs. Heccadon ?" he forced himself to say. 

"Mareot? She understands each of us. She understands 
herself too. She is one of the people who are bom to pay. 

" As I am not." sne added after a moment j and he knew 
that she was right. 



CHRISTOPHER 339 

This was the end. The ten minutes by which he had ex- 
tended the drive had done for him. He no longer wanted to 
get out of the hansom, but he was conscious, under what he 
said or heard, of straining towards the moment when it 
should reach Mis. Constaple's, and he should be alone. 

They talked on in the few minutes that remained. Cora 
•poke again of her mother. Christopher remembered how 
he once had nearly spoken of her, and could have laughed 
She spoke of his stepfather. He remembered, with a momen- 
tary feeling of resentment against John Hemming, how he 
himself had nearly spoken of him— as a link between them I 
'' Yon knew ? " he said, under his breath. 
" Christopher I " She leant forward to look at him 
" You didn't suppose that I didn't ? You can't have thought 
that ? You can't suppose I don't know ? " 
" I think I hoped you mightn't know everything," he said. 
"Is it possible that you thought I could escape knowing ? 
I've had to know. I don't blame anyone particularly- 
least of all my mother. I'm very good friends with her. 
I'm very good friends with her husband, who is my stepfather, 
I suppose. I've been quite good friends with others of my— 
my stepfathers." 

" But your father," said Christopher. Was there no one 
to watch over her ? 

" Oh, he doesn't trouble himself. I dare say he knows. 
It's all unfair enough, anyway. He got the custody of me." 
That put a finger on Christophar's childhood I That, 
whirling him back to the moment when he had first heard of 
her, ahnost wrung a cry from him. Everytl ag did seem 
linked with everything else, and, as she slippt J from him. 
aU his life, all the things in his life, all his thoughts and hopes 
and ambitions, to have been, nay, to be, bound up with her. 
" What shall I do without you ? " he said. 
" Do you think I shan't miss you, Christopher ? " 
They were turning into Grosvenor Street now. With a 
rush which overwhehned him there came upon him a sense of 
what it was that had happened. Ages seemed to have passed 
between the beginning of this momentous drive and its 
dreadful finish. 



340 CHRISTOPHER 

" Cora, I cwi't give yon up. You're everything to me. It 
will be like tearing out my lieart if I lose you." 

She was wiser than he. 

" You would never have been allowed to marry me. Do 
you think I should ever have been admitted to Heiiickswood ? 
I think what you told me to^y-what Mrs. Hemck said 
about leaving you free to marry whom you hked--wonld 
have Iwonght that home to me. You would have been cut 
out of Heirickswood, Christopher." j, .. ^ u u j 

He knew it, even as she spoke, and wondered that he had 
not known it all along. 

" I could have faced that," he said. 

" I know But it wouU have been foohsh, and it would 
have been useless. We're not for each other. «,*»»«"' 
anything that I know it this moment it's that. We re eadi 
of us just the one person in the world who fa not for the 
other. It isn't quite all one way, either. You wouldnt 
be aUowed to many me, but-think this out, Christopher l- 
I shouldn't be allowed to marry you. We didn t make the 
tangle : the tangle's there all the same." 
^'m the only one caught in it. I shall never be free 

"*" You'll be freer than you've ever been." Cora said. " I 
believe I'm hundreds of years older than you, and I knov 
All sorts of things that are in you will be free. Thin^jn- 
prisoned-but they won't be always. No one will ever know, 
but some day it will be to me-4f they couM know rt--that 
people will owe their gratitude, for you, Christopher. 

He had thought that she was not feehng anythmg, but 
he was wrong. 

The house was in sight now. 

" I can't go to-to the opera to-night. YouU tell Mrs. 

Constaple." 

She nodded. 

" Nor the things next week." , ^ ,^ 

"All right, Christopher. I'll teU her. I-I shant go 
myself." 

" Cora." 

" Yes." 



CHRISTOPHER 



341 



"You were gotog to meet him the day jrao met me." 

There was the briefest pause. """w. 

Then : " Yes, Christopher," 

The tears were streamiiig down her lace now as hl<i t^r. 
we« stoeaming dovm^Trbe haasom^^'a^tSJd^ 
It was the very end. The boy and the girl, car^ of whe^ 
^^ seen or not. drew tcgetherl^Sd'SSS'SS 

So it came that Christopher's rooms in Cloisters Stn»t 
were Christopher's Gethsem'ime that night XS SS 
agony, none the less real because it waTvery J^uT f^ 

be witness. One person only was to guess at it. TWs was 

^ ZL^ tT-^ "^P*" ** ««*■ "d was stricken 
rather than struck by his appearance. 

"Nothing that you can tell me?" 
^' No, John." 

"Christopher, you won't hate me-God forgive me I 
believe I'm in this-you don't hate me ? " ^ ' 

• .^"•Jo'^n.o^ course not. And you're not in it No one 
»b^^I. here's noting tlSyou^ui^LehdJ^ 
^-H«thmgthat«yone could. What I widied couWn't^ 

J^you shouU have fixed upon her l-of aU the giris in 

dai^J^i'^'^L:!!'^'"*^'"*^"-^''-- "Some 

.K?°* ^ ^'* **" ''«' *•»"• NoiWhough he knew that 
Jhe waited for news-did he teU^TgrSd^Sr Ske 
teud sooner or later fcom Mrs. ConsST^ t S 
as wen perhaps, that he did not hear what shi aSi WhS 

S^H^dS^" '"* ""** "^ *""" '«'- -- Co« 
sJ!^.^-^vJ^^ ^ ""** '°^« Christopher, an4 in the 

SfSt^^J:^'?^r^'"^°°* tocro^hi;!^ sh^ 

wasmtheschemeof It for aU that, as tove was in the scheme ol 



34" 



CHRISTOPHER 



it , and Mtraw, with rich oompeiiMtiant for Mcrow : U WM loM 
crowned. perhtiM— nch love, anyway, as Oat which had 
potaeiiedorevenolMMiedUm-H^hichwaiiiot HermiMion 
waa iiot-to-Iov« Chriatopher. 

He had been wrong titea 7 She was not That One to wfaan 
the eternal qnection had been addieaaed— not the choaen 
companion who aomewhen, aa he had soppoaed, had travelled, 
or waa to travel beside hfan? Climbing the years— Icom Bou- 
logne to London— he had been nnder a ddiuion ? Hewaato 
know, maybe, that he had been under a dehision. Hewaato 
know beyond all doubt, if 10, that the delusion itself had been 

divfaie. 

Before this consummation, some suffering perhaps. What 
of that? Could such knowledge come otherwise than by 
suffering ? > 

Theiefoie let no one say that this book of him " ends 
badly"! Tbe book of Christopher ends happily. Hewaato 
come by his voice, it is true, as the wife of Heceadon had 
come by hers. That the dumb should speak— is not that to 
endha^y? His mother, perhaps, wishing for grandduldren 
rather than books, was to wonder; Trimmer, perii^>s, 
(childless for the sake of him I) ; no one else. 

So, Oobters Street, ^Mtb hi some sort was also Boidogne 
to him, before it want the way of all the beautiful old streets 
in the rfmngiiig town— before the ruthless denudishment, 
that is (some ten yean later), of what could never be re^daced 
—was to see considerably more of him than hia agony. It 
was to witnesB the neglKted ink-bottle finding its voice again, 
and to see Christofdier, the wings sprouting <m his pen as he 
listaied,aUe once mote to hear it; it was to see the releasing 
of all the impriaoned thiaga from tiie Boulogne to tiie London 
days, 6om even before tiie Boulogne day»-41»e Cheltenham 
days, the Ebury Street days— who is to gainsay it ?— the 
days Ml board sbip, the very pre-natal days. It was 
to see Christopher, in fine, learn at length to express 
hfanself. 

Happy? Unhappy? Happy— and by reason of Cora, 
woftiilesB Coia, daughter <rf the Mrs. St. Jemiaon who coald 



CHHISTOPHBR 



" 343 

„,a_- »««"» rw. Of hii ooiudoat and ancontdooi 



*•""«•• >9cs-i9ia 



THE END 



nitimD ■¥